Feb 8, 2011

Egypt Blames Hamas for Dramatic Gas Explosion

Aaron KleinBy Aaron Klein
Klein Online

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Militants working on behalf of Hamas were responsible for the dramatic explosion at a gas terminal that disrupted the supply of fuel to Israel, a senior Egyptian security official told WND.

A top Hamas source in the Gaza Strip refused to comment on the accusation.

Egyptian television reported "terrorists" were responsible for the attack, which took place in the El Arish region of the Northern Egyptian Sinai – an area in which Hamas is known to have a presence.

The Egyptian intelligence official told WND that Hamas used the explosion as a diversion so that dozens of senior Hamas members who were sprung from jail in recent days could be smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

The imprisoned Hamas members broke out of jail following the breakdown of security in Egypt amid the recent protests there targeting President Hosni Mubarak.

Immediately following the explosion, Mubarak's regime cut off gas supplies to both Israel and Jordan, explaining his government wanted to first ensure Egypt had enough gas for its own needs.

Some in Israel interpret Mubarak's move as a possible political gesture to the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, which traditionally opposes Egypt's relationship and treaty with Israel.

Egypt supplies Israel with some 30 percent of its gas needs, while Jordan relies on Egypt for up to 80 percent of its fuel needs.

The cut off of gas to Israel set of a flurry of diplomatic activity here yesterday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government holding an emergency session aimed at pressing agencies in the country to speed development of a natural gas deposit they say can make Israel energy independent.

Related Links

Lawlessness spreads in N. Sinai as Hamas transfers al Qaeda cells - DEBKAfile
Northern Sinai heating up - The Media Line
Egypt and Israel's Changing Defense Strategy - American Thinker
Concern rising along the Israel-Egypt border - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
The Sinai Gas Blast: Another Reason for Israeli Anxiety over Egypt - TIME