A number of senior members of Hamas’ armed-wing who were stuck at the Rafah crossing and at El Arish Airport in Sinai for the past few weeks recently managed to return to Gaza, Ynet has learned.
Seventy-nine Izz al-Din al-Qassam men have been forced to remain on the Egyptian side of the border after Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Cairo agreed to ban their entry into the Strip in light of information indicating they had been training in Iran.
During the last few days some of the men managed to infiltrate Gaza through the border fence, while others returned to the countries from which they came, mainly Syria.
Despite the reports, a source in Gaza told Ynet that their return to the Strip had been authorized by Egypt, but this has not been confirmed.
Among those Hamas members who returned to Gaza were Abed el-Hadi Siam, who had escaped a number of Israeli attempts at his life in the past, and Nafez Sabayeh, another senior Izz al-Din al-Qassam member.
Palestinian sources in Gaza said the IDF’s increased activity near Rafah last week was related to reports that the Hamas members were planning to cross the border back into the Strip.
Hamas denied that the members had received training in Iran.