Gaza Strip border: Egyptian forces, Hamas try again to seal border
Egyptian security forces and Hamas police forces strung barbed wire across one of the openings in the Egypt-Gaza Strip border Monday in a bid to seal the frontier. According to the AP, three trucks of Egyptian security forces pulled up to the "Brazil" gate and strung wire across the entry point into Egypt. They were aided by half a dozen Hamas men.
At the main Salah Eddin gate, meanwhile, Palestinian and Egyptian security forces manned the crossing points, stopping civilian cars and letting trucks through, while pedestrians scoured the nearly empty stores for food and consumer products to take back to the Gaza Strip. According to AFP, a much-reduced flow of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip crossed into Egypt on Monday.
Shops in Rafah were running out of stocks after Egypt on Sunday started preventing trucks coming from Cairo to resupply border towns. Outside Rafah, lines of trucks with Cairo plates could be seen stopped at checkpoints and being sent back to the capital. But security officials in Cairo, speaking to the AP, denied any shipments to Rafah were being blocked.
Six days after Hamas blew holes in the border wall with Egypt to end a two year blockade, Egypt wants to restore shared control of the border among the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and European Union monitors. However, Hamas rejects the old system and is pushing for a new one. "This agreement has become part of past history, and the Palestinian people will not accept turning back to the old procedure," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza City.
Hamas claims its main objection to the old system is that Israel uses cameras and computers to track everyone who passes in and out of the coastal territoty.
Hamas is expected to dispatch a delegation to Egypt to discuss Rafah security Wednesday - the same day Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas meets in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.