Egypt closes border to Gaza Strip

Feb. 3, 2008 at 7:13 AM
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JERUSALEM, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Security forces Sunday closed the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip, ending 11 days of Palestinian movement.

Gaza and Egypt residents were being allowed to across the border if they were returning home, CNN reported.

Hamas announced following a meeting in Cairo Saturday that its security forces would cooperate with Egyptian security forces to close the border, The New York Times said Sunday.

"Egypt's message was very clear, that Sunday should be the day to put an end to this scene," Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, told al-Jazeera Saturday.

The border is secured under a 2005 agreement permitting Palestinian troops loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas to control Gaza under European and Israeli monitors.

Israeli officials said they favored a return to the 2005 arrangements, but stressed security concerns could influence operations along the border.

Hamas blew through the border with Egypt at the Rafah crossing Jan. 23. Israel had imposed sanctions on the Gaza Strip in response to increased Hamas rocket-fire into southern Israel.

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