Egypt branded Islamist gunmen who killed 16 police near the Israeli border as “infidels” and promised on Monday to launch a crackdown following the massacre that strained Cairo’s ties with both Israel and Palestinians.
An Egyptian official has said “Jihadist elements” crossed from the Gaza Strip into Egypt before leading the assault on a border station. They then stole two armored vehicles and headed to nearby Israel, where they were killed by Israeli fire.
Egypt announced it was closing its border crossing into Gaza “indefinitely”, cutting off the sole exit route for most Palestinians at the height of the Muslim-fast month of Ramadan.
Hamas, which condemned the killings of the Egyptians, immediately sealed the warren of smuggling tunnels that connect Gaza with Egypt after Cairo said the gunmen had used these links to reach their territory.
Hamas has pledged to assist Egypt in determining who was behind the attack. Hamas is considered too moderate by Salafist groups, which demand a constant state of war with Israel.