No agreement between Hamas and Egypt on border issue
Hamas used a bulldozer to widen a breach in the Gaza Strip-Egypt border on Friday so trucks could pass out of the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian territory despite Egypt's attempts to re-seal the crossing, witnesses said. Egyptian forces earlier this week closed two other crossings and narrowed the third.
The development came as a second day of talks between Egypt and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal was winding down. Meshaal, who arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for talks with Egypt on passage through the Gaza border, departed for Damascus shortly after with no agreement reached with Cairo, Reuters reported.
"We covered a large stretch in the talks but we didn't reach an agreement, and it was decided there will be a new round of talks soon," Imad al-Alami, a member of the Hamas delegation told reporters at Cairo airport.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a speech in Gaza on Friday that the Islamist movement would not agree a "return to the cage of siege and the 2005 passages agreement" governing the Rafah crossing. "We want a free Palestinian-Egyptian crossing ... regardless of the sacrifices, we will not accept the occupation's (Israel's) control of the crossing," he stated.
Meanwhile, Hamas on Friday freed an aide to Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad detained for more than six weeks, amid reports that a release of Fatah and Hamas prisoners was being mediated. Hamas forces detained late last year Omar al-Ghul, 52, a political adviser to Fayyad who wrote editorials critical of Hamas for the Palestinian Authority's official newspaper.
"Naturally I am happy to be released and to see freedom," Ghul told AFP outside a prison in Gaza City. "Freedom is a great and beautiful thing after 50 days of being held under arrest with no justification."
Ghul, who attacked the Hamas takeover of Gaza Strip in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily, called on writers to continue to criticize Hamas' "coup" and other "divisive elements". "I thank everyone who worked for my release... and I am grateful for the political errors of the Hamas movement that made me a headline for political expression and the defence of freedom of expression," he said.