Egypt reopens Gaza-Sinai border

Tuesday, February 05, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Palestinian sources told Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper on Tuesday that Egypt had reopened its border with the Gaza Strip less than a day after sealing it and was again allowing residents of the Hamas-ruled territory to flow freely and largely unchecked into the Sinai Peninsula.

The move came just hours after Palestinians angered by the resealing of the border clashed with Egyptian soldiers on the other side of the fence. The confrontation began with Palestinian civilians hurling stones at the Egyptians, but quickly escalated when the Egyptian soldiers began responding with live fire, prompting Hamas security forces to become involved in the gun battle.

By the end of the skirmish, one Palestinian man had been killed and at least 44 others wounded. Egypt reported that 38 of its soldiers were wounded in the clash.

Meanwhile, Israel's Foreign Ministry indicated on Tuesday that it would support an Egyptian request to bolster the number of troops and level of weaponry deployed along the Sinai-Gaza border far beyond what is permitted by the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement.

Israel's Defense Ministry and army leadership remained firmly opposed to the move. Egypt has on three occasions invaded Israeli territory with the stated goal of annihilating the Jewish state.

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