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Homeland Security

Iran Press TV

Egypt deports Hamas leader to Gaza

Iran Press TV

Aug 19, 2015 1:24PM

Egypt has deported a senior member of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas to Gaza after arresting him upon his arrival at an airport in Cairo, Press TV reports.

Egyptian security officials confirmed on Wednesday that Hassan Youssef al-Seifi was deported to Gaza through the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Security sources said earlier on Tuesday that Seifi was nabbed at the Cairo International Airport as he arrived from Saudi Arabia.

The sources said that Seifi, a deputy at Gaza’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments, was detained as “his name appeared on a watch list.”

Other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Seifi’s arrest came at dawn on Monday, saying that he will remain in detention until issues with his paperwork are resolved.

Hamas has yet to comment on the arrest, which came one day after Egyptian officials opened the Rafah border crossing, allowing the Palestinians to travel in and out of Gaza until August 20. Palestinian sources have even said that Egypt has allowed the entry of limited amount of construction materials into Gaza.

Rafah is Gaza’s only outlet to the outside world free from Israel’s control. The crossing has been largely shut since Egypt’s former president Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power in July 2013.

The Egyptian military has also launched a heavy-handed crackdown on the underground tunnels, which are used to transfer essential supplies, including food and fuel into the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

Cairo has blamed a series of terror attacks in its restive Sinai Province on groups which it says are supported by Hamas. The resistance movement, which has ruled the Gaza since 2007, has denied the allegations.

After the fall of Morsi from power, Egypt blacklisted his Muslim Brotherhood movement and Hamas, two groups which share deep historical connections. A court in Cairo cancelled the ruling on Hamas in June.

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