Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hundreds pray in solidarity with Egypt at Gaza City embassy

Published today 12:44
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh leads a prayer at the Egyptian embassy in
Gaza City on Aug. 6. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hundreds prayed at the Egyptian embassy in Gaza City on Monday in a show of solidarity with the Egyptian people following the deadly attack in Sinai that killed 16 Egyptian officers.

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh led Tarawih prayers, performed during Ramadan after the last prayer of the day. He also performed symbolic funeral prayers for the slain officers.

After prayers, senior Hamas leader Yahya al-Sinwar reiterated the party's condemnation of the brazen attack on a police station where Egypt's borders with Israel and Gaza converge. He said Palestinian resistance did not target Egyptians.

"In the name of all Palestinian factions and the al-Qassam Brigades we say that Palestine does not target Egyptian people or Egyptian security," he said.

Al-Sinwar urged Egyptian authorities to beware of attempts to undermine the relationship between Palestine and Egypt.

Meanwhile, Islamic intellectual and preacher Salah Sultan said in a statement that Gaza was not involved in the Sinai attack, and urged Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi to ignore attempts to implicate the enclave in the killings.

Sultan also urged Egypt not to punish Gaza by closing the Rafah crossing, noting that pilgrims were trying to travel to Saudi Arabia.

Egypt closed the Gaza border "indefinitely" after the Sinai attack. Rafah crossing was the only border open to residents of Gaza due to Israel's blockade.

Hamas said Monday it was shutting down the around 1,000 smuggling tunnels to the Egyptian Sinai, prompting Gaza residents to stockpile petrol and other scarce imported goods.

Anti-Palestinian sentiment surfaced in Sinai's border towns after the attack.

"Since yesterday, people in el-Arish, Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah are forcing Palestinians to return home, and those who are caught are beaten up," said a resident of Sheikh Zuwaid, declining to be named.

Reuters contributed to this report.
Maan News Agency