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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Egypt holds dozens over Gaza support

Thu, 09 Apr 2009 05:23:24 GMT | PressTV

Egyptian security agents have arrested about 50 people over alleged links to the Palestinian movement of Hamas.

Lawyer Montasser al-Zayat said a group of Egyptians, Lebanese and Palestinians are being held and interrogated by the police on suspicion of having connections with and assisting Hamas -- the democratically elected government of the Gaza Strip.

Zayat noted that state security prosecutors had begun interrogating the men on Saturday, and that he had been denied access to his clients.

The lawyer added that authorities were accusing the men of sending 'money, aid and food to Hamas and the Palestinians in war-battered Gaza.'

"We've not been able to find out the official charges, but they revolve around supporting Hamas," Zayat said.

The Egyptian government, like conservative Arab states in the Middle East, is worried about the growing popularity and influence of both the Hamas and Hezbollah.

Cairo closed the Rafah border crossing during Israel's onslaught against the Gaza Strip in which people were in dire need of basic goods and medical supplies.

Three weeks of ensuing air strikes and a ground incursion inflicted more than USD 1.6 billion in damages on the Gazan economy.

Thousands of people lost their homes during the onslaught and heavily rely on aid and humanitarian support which can only be channeled to the Strip through Egypt which is the only country that shares border with Gaza.

Gaza is suffering from a humanitarian crisis due to the tight 20-month old blockade of the region.

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