Hamas Seeking Close 'Security' Ties with Egypt

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh would like to strengthen ties with the new Islamist government in Egypt while diminishing ties with the "Zionist enemy."

Egypt's more than 30-year-old peace treaty has been on shaky ground since the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last year.  Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has alternately called for abrogating the treaty and promising to uphold it.  Hamas has no ties with Israel.

On Sunday, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi phoned Haniyeh to wish him well on Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. The terror chief thanked Morsi for his support and told him security issues should be handled between "brothers," with Israel excluded.

"Yes, we want security coordination with our brothers and strategic depth and not with the Zionist enemy," the Jerusalem Post quoted Haniyeh in Sunday's speech.

On Tuesday, Egypt reopened Rafah for three days before the start of Eid al-Fitr. The border crossing has been closed since August 5, when a Sinai-based terror cell attacked an Egyptian army base near the border with Israel, killing 16 soldiers as they broke the Ramadan fast. From there, they breached the border in a stolen armored vehicle and an explosives-laden truck to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel. They were stopped by tank fire and an aerial attack.

In his holiday speech, Haniyeh warned "the enemy [Israel] that no one from the Palestinian people will accept your occupation."

"Jerusalem is ours and the land is ours…we will march to our Jerusalem, al-Aksa and homes," he said.

Since taking control of Gaza in June 2007, Hamas, the Palestinian Arab offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, has steadily imposed Sharia law on the population.

Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, beat former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq by a slim margin in a runoff in June. Since assuming office, Morsi has tightened control in what many see as an Islamist takeover.

On August 30, Morsi plans to attend a summit in Tehran, marking the first such visit by an Egyptian president in decades.

According to a weekend report on Voice of Israel radio, Egypt has deployed anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles close to Israel's border, raising concern that Morsi's intentions go beyond clearing the Sinai desert of jihadist cells.

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