Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Monday led a mass prayer in solidarity with the victims of the terror attack in Kerem Shalom outside the Egyptian Embassy in Gaza in the backdrop of harsh accusations directed against the group following the attack.
Meanwhile, dozens of Egyptians protested outside the Israeli ambassador’s residence in Cairo calling on the Egyptian government to cut off relations with Israel, local media reported.
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On Tuesday, Israeli officials decided to reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing which was the site of Sunday's terror attack following a situation assessment. The crossing was closed Monday as part of the heightened alert.
Haniyeh leads prayer (Photo: AFP)
Hamas, on its part, is still trying to fend off accusations that it was involved in the deadly attack. Haniyeh has called for the establishment of a joint Hamas-Egypt security coordination committee and vehemently denied any Palestinian involvement in the attack. "It is not possible any Palestinian would involve themselves, participate or incite to kill our brothers, the Egyptian people," he said.
The Hamas leader made the statements during a second emergency government meeting following the attack. He said that Hamas is concerned with Egypt's security and stability. "Security in Egypt is security in Palestine – compromising Egyptian security is compromising Palestinian national security."
Prayers in Gaza (Photo: AFP)
Some in Egypt's fringes have called for heightened enforcement in the Rafah crossing and for action to be taken against Gaza, if need arises. Hamas in response raised alert at Gaza's borders and stopped the tunnels' activity.
Meanwhile, Haniyeh joined the Muslim Brotherhood in accusing Israel of orchestrating the attack. "The attack's method confirms some sort of Israeli involvement aiming to achieve political and security goals, cause tension on the border with Egypt and destroy joint efforts to end the Gaza blockade," he said.
Egyptian protesters in Cairo shared the sentiment. “It’s definitely Israel who is behind it," one protester said. "We demand the termination of any political relations with Israel,” said Ahmed El-Toni who referred to himself as an “independent activist.”
Egyptian newspaper al-Youm al-Sabaa reported that among the protesters in Cairo were members of Egyptian youth movements. Mohammed Fuzi, a member of the April 6 movement described the protest as symbolic and said that if their demands are not met, the various factions will coordinate steps to escalate their struggle.