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Hamas says Egypt fired at Gaza security outposts

Egyptian military source denies firing at Palestinian security outposts
Palestinian security forces patrol the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt on 3 January, 2015 (AFP)

Hamas accused Egypt's army of firing at Palestinian security outposts in the Gaza Strip Tuesday, just days after Cairo declared the movement's military wing a "terrorist" group.

Gaza's Hamas-run interior ministry condemned "the Egyptian army for firing this morning directly at two positions along the southern Gaza border."

"It was without justification, and there had been no incursion from the Palestinian side" of the tiny coastal enclave, which borders Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

The statement, which did not refer to any casualties, called for an immediate investigation into the incident.

The claim comes at a time of high tension between Hamas and Cairo.

An Egyptian military source, for his part, denied that shots had been fired at any Palestinian border posts, insisting that the Egyptian army "has never done this and never will."

"If we did, we would announce it and state our reasons for it – but that's not the case here," he said.

The source went on to say it was not the first time for such accusations to be levelled against the Egyptian army by the Gaza authorities, describing the assertions as "unrealistic."

On Saturday, an Egyptian court banned Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and ruled that it is a terrorist group.

Since the military ousted freely-elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the Egyptian authorities have accused the Palestinian group that controls Gaza of aiding militants who have increased their attacks on security forces in Sinai.

Hamas denies the Egyptian accusations, saying that they were politically motivated.

In early January, Egypt began work on doubling the width of a buffer zone along the border with Gaza.

The buffer zone was created following a suicide bombing on October 24 that killed 30 Egyptian soldiers and wounded scores. A similar attack struck last week.

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