February 3, 2015 / 1:53 PM / 5 years ago

Explosion, gunfire along Egypt-Gaza border, no casualties

ISMAILIA/GAZA, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Egyptian troops fired warning shots over the frontier into Gaza on Tuesday after a bomb exploded on Gaza territory near an Egyptian army convoy, Egyptian security sources said.

Hamas, the Islamist group that governs Gaza, said Palestinian positions had come under fire from Egyptian soil with no justification.

“Fire was directed in a surprising, unjustified way and without any violation from the Palestinian side,” said Eyad al-Bozom, a spokesman for Gaza’s Hamas-run interior ministry.

Security concerns have deepened in Egypt since last Thursday, when Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate claimed responsibility for coordinated attacks that killed over 30 security personnel in the Sinai Peninsula.

Egyptian security sources blamed Hamas for a blast on Gaza territory which they said targeted an Egyptian military convoy near the Salah al-Din checkpoint. They said they had fired warning shots back.

Palestinian authorities had made contact with Egypt to protest about the shooting and demand an investigation.

An Egyptian court last week banned Hamas’ armed wing and listed it as a terrorist organisation, prompting Hamas to reject Egypt’s historical role as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which the authorities have also declared a terrorist group and repressed systematically since the army ousted one of its leaders, Mohamed Mursi, from the presidency in 2013.

Both groups deny accusations that they engage in terrorism.

Egypt is facing an Islamist insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders the Palestinian Gaza Strip as well as Israel and Egypt’s Suez Canal.

The Egyptian government has accused Hamas of funnelling weapons and fighters to the Sinai-based militants.

Reporting By Yusri Mohamed in Ismailia, Nidal Al Mughrabi in Gaza, and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing By Shadi Bushra; editing by Ralph Boulton

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