Himfr.com Reports Egypt invites Hamas leaders to discuss border steel barrier: Hamas official

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A senior Hamas movement's official revealed Monday that Egypt invited some Hamas leaders to Cairo to discuss reports saying that Egypt builds a steel barrier on its borders with the Gaza Strip.

The London-based al-Hayat newspaper and the Israeli daily Haaretz reported early this week that Egypt is building an underground metal fence at the borderline between Hamas-run Gaza and Egypt to prevent digging smuggling tunnels, but there is no official Egyptian response so far.

The Hamas official, who spoke in condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that Hamas movement "is studying the invitation," and Fathi Hammad, the interior minister of deposed Hamas government, is expected to be "the person who might meet with the Egyptian officials to discuss the issue."

Egypt has not yet confirmed the invitation in this respect. However, the Hamas official said the Egyptian invitation to Hamas came after Hamas sent indirect messages to Egypt.

"These messages said that Hamas won't be able to control Gaza if Egypt continues installing the steel fence that aims at preventing smuggling through underground tunnels," said the official.

He said there is anger among Hamas leaders "as reports said Egypt continues building up the steel fence along its 9 km long borders with the Gaza Strip."

"Hamas leaders believe that building up the fence would tighten the siege that is imposed on the Gaza Strip for three years," he added.

The Hamas official also said his movement considers building the steel fence "is an outcome of security agreements reached among Egypt, Israel and the United States.

Earlier on Monday, hundreds of Hamas supporters demonstrated near the borderline between Gaza and Egypt against the construction of the steel fence under the borders.

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