Hamas has created the proper environment for the emergence of new terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Dahlan, a former Palestinian security commander, said Thursday.
Dahlan, who founded and headed the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip between 1994 and 2000, also accused Hamas of harboring the terror groups and using their members to kill Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip.
Dahlan's allegations came in wake of Sunday night's terror attack in Sinai in which 16 Egyptian border guards were killed by unidentified gunmen.
PA and Fatah officials have seized the opportunity to hold their rivals in Hamas responsible for the attack, which is believed to have been carried out by Muslim fundamentalists from Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has strongly denied any connection to the attack, insisting that the terrorists did not come from the Gaza Strip.
Dahlan, who was expelled from Fatah last year following a dispute with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his sons, also criticized Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy for hosting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the presidential palace in Cairo last week.
Dahlan said that Haniyeh was being ungrateful to the Egyptians who honored him by treating him as a head of state. "Instead of expressing their gratitude, Hamas and Haniyeh are working to damage Egyptian interests in Sinai," Dahlan said in an interview with an Egyptian TV station.
Dahlan said that the underground tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt were a source of income for Hamas leaders who have no interest in closing them down.
The Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip do not benefit from the tunnels, Dahlan added. He called on the Egyptians to hold Hamas and its leaders, and not the entire Palestinian people, fully responsible for harboring terror groups in the Gaza Strip and threatening Egypt's national security.
Dahlan said that the Gaza Strip was not under siege and its residents are not lacking anything. "Hamas is laying siege to the Gaza Strip," he charged.
Dahlan said that a pro-Hamas Sudanese minister who visited the Gaza Strip recently told him that he wished that Sudan had as much basic goods as the Gaza Strip.
In a related development, Hamas claimed Thursday that the Egyptian authorities have determined that the terrorists who killed the 16 border guards did not come from the Gaza Strip.
Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official, said that the Egyptian security forces' investigations have shown that the terrorists were not Palestinians, did not come from the Gaza Strip and were not affiliated with Hamas.
Bardaweel claimed that supporters of ousted President Hosni Mubarak have been trying to implicate Hamas and the Gaza Strip to embarrass Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Hamas official said that his government would be prepared to shut all the underground tunnels if the Egyptians agree to permanently open the Rafah border crossing.
Taher a-Nunu, spokesman for the Hamas government, also appealed Thursday to the Egyptians to keep the Rafah terminal open. He also suggested that the border crossing be turned into a trade terminal so that it could replace the underground tunnels.
A-Nunu said that the Sinai terror attack was designed to sabotage relations between Egypt and the Palestinians.