By SARAH EL DEEB, AP, with Reuters
Egypt seizes his cash.
CAIRO - Hamas negotiators left Egypt without a long-term cease-fire with Israel yesterday - but not before members of the group's delegation were stopped at the Gaza border carrying millions of dollars in cash stuffed into their suitcases.
The delegation walked away from the cease-fire talks because of disagreements over the blockade against Gaza and border security. Talks will continue at a later date.
An Egyptian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the group initially refused to be searched by Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border crossing.
When the group relented, authorities found $7 million and 2 million euros ($2.5 million) in cash in their suitcases. But another security official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said $9 million and 2 million euros were found.
The money was later deposited in an account in Egypt by one of the Hamas members, senior negotiator Ayman Taha. He later told al Jazeera TV the bills represented "donations to the Palestinian people," and he insisted Hamas will be able to get the cash back.
The incident is a sensitive one for Egypt, particularly now, when Israel is demanding a halt to Hamas smuggling into Gaza.
Also yesterday, the Israeli navy intercepted a ship carrying humanitarian supplies from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip and towed the vessel into port, foiling a new attempt by international activists to break Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory.
It was the first time Israeli forces seized an aid ship, after the navy let some boats in and turned others around.