Israel’s intelligence minister says that Egypt warned Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh during a brief visit to Cairo on Sunday that Egypt “knows and has proof” that Hamas was funding the Gaza riots and sending civilians to the border fence to serve “as living ammunition, women and children instead of shells and rockets.”
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said an Egyptian intelligence chief warned Haniyeh that Egypt has “proof” that the terror group, which is in complete political and military control in Gaza, was behind the riots and sacrificing civilians for political purposes.
The Egyptian official “made unequivocally clear to him [Haniyeh] that if this continues, Israel will respond and take far harsher steps, and Egypt will stand by and will not help,” Katz told Israel Radio in an interview.
“Haniyeh returned to Gaza, Hamas gave an order … and miraculously, this spontaneous protest by a public that could not handle the situation any more dissipated.”
The New York Times reported on Monday, “At 5:30 p.m., shortly after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, organizers who had been urging people toward the fence all day suddenly began shooing them away, and the day’s action quickly subsided.”
Egypt did not immediately respond to Katz’s comments, which Hamas dismissed as false.
The terror group denied that pressure from Egypt led to the dwindling down of riots at the Israeli-Gaza border on Tuesday, where only 4,000 Gazans had gathered compared to 50,000 on Monday, the day of the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
“There is no mediation. The marches will continue until our people achieve their goals,” said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum.
Israel has, with support from the U.S. administration, accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields for attacks across the fence and to distract from Gaza’s internal problems.