Hamas to help seal Rafah crossing

Group agrees to assist Cairo in closing Egypt-Gaza border from Sunday.

    Since January 23 thousands of Gazans have flooded into Egypt through the Rafah crossing[AFP]

    Gradual sealing
    "We will work towards sealing the border between us and Egypt…this has to be done gradually," al-Zahar said.
    Since January 23 hundreds of thousands of Gazans have streamed across the Rafah crossing, the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
    The Rafah crossing has been open since Hamas fighters destroyed large sections of the barrier wall after nearly a week-long Israeli lockdown of the territory.
    By Friday, Egypt had succeeded in halting all but pedestrian traffic, but Hamas fighters later dragged away metal barricades to allow a column of massive transport trucks to enter Egyptian Rafah.
    "Egypt has confirmed that it will work to provide the Palestinian people with everything it needs... the trucks that carry food and medicine will be processed on the Egyptian side in a suitable way," al-Zahar said.
    Hamas has demanded that the Rafah crossing be operated through a strictly Palestinian-Egyptian agreement.
    It wants to replace a 2005 arrangement that involved European observers and Israeli electronic surveillance on the border.
    Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president whose Fatah faction was driven out of Gaza by Hamas last June, has said his forces should operate the crossings.
    Abbas has refused all contact with Hamas until they return Gaza to the Palestinian Authority.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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