Stepping up the rhetoric in what has escalated into an all-out verbal war between Hamas and Egypt over the Gaza government's perceived responsibility for the devastating results of Operation Cast Lead, a senior Egyptian parliamentarian on Thursday accused Hamas leaders of abandoning the Palestinians of Gaza to their fate.
"Where are the Hamas leaders now, when the residents of Gaza are getting killed? All of Hamas's leadership is in bunkers," Muhammad Bassiouny, the head of the parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, charged in an interview with an Egyptian television channel.
Egyptian FM: Hamas must stop rocket attacks for truce to hold
Egypt's foreign minister said on Thursday that Hamas must ensure rocket fire stops in any truce deal to halt Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, criticizing the Palestinian group for giving Israel an excuse to launch the bombardment.
Aboul Gheit said Israel must immediately halt its offensive, but he insisted Hamas must commit to enforcing a halt to rockets. "We expect the Palestinian side to say that if a cease-fire is announced, we'll stop firing rockets," he said, warning that "some loose group can decide to continue firing rockets and make it difficult to have a cease-fire."
He criticized Hamas, saying Egypt had seen "the signals that Israel was determined to strike Hamas in Gaza for the past three months. They practically wrote it in the sky."
"Unfortunately, they (Hamas) served Israel the opportunity on a golden platter to hit Gaza," he said.