Egypt: Hamas officials abducted near Rafah Border

Four Hamas officials have been abducted by armed men wearing “Pakistani-type” clothes in an area close to the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, Egyptian officials said on Friday although the incident has reportedly taken place on Wednesday night.

The Hamas officials were in a bus that was carrying 50 passengers traveling to Cairo from Gaza when the bus was stopped at gun point after several bullets were fired.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but Hamas is already alleging that Cairo played a role in the attack. “They had entered the crossing after receiving permission from Egyptian security forces, which could have prevented them from entering,” said Hamas.

Egyptian security officials stated that the bus was shot at thereby forcing the driver to stop and the Hamas officials had their identities checked before being abducted. The incident has been termed as a “security coup” by Hamas with claims that the bus was under police escort when the attack occurred.

Although some militants in the Sinai Peninsula wear tunic-style fatigues similar to the “Pakistani-type” commonly found in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it seems difficult to identify individuals and the group they belong to with such information. The Islamic State group has threatened Hamas after it arrested jihadist militants in Gaza suspected of targeting its armed wing with a series of bombings.

Relations between Hamas and Egypt have deteriorated since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

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