Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Monday, September 12, 2005

Egypt fills the shoes of the IDF

Day one after the definitive Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Egyptian border guards shot dead a Palestinian for "approaching a security barrier" (a cement wall topped with razor wire) at the Rafah border crossing.

In violation of the Camp David accords, Israel cajoled [and likely bribed] Egyptian President Mubarek into deploying Egyptian forces at the crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egypt. To add insult to injury, the Israelis closed down the Gaza side of the crossing on September 7, without consulting the Palestinian authority. Sharon's disengagement plan hands Israel control of the crossing.

Reports are confused and this may not be the final version of events. An AFP dispatch suggests this scenario.

This morning, hours after the departure of the last Israeli soldier, the situation at the frontier exploded as thousands of Palestinians swarmed the closed crossing, overwhelming Egyptian police and entered Egypt, where they fraterized and celebrated with a crowd of Egyptians before going shopping. The flow was said to be two-way, with Egyptians hopping the border into Rafah. The masses also knocked down a portion of the security barrier. Meanwhile, Hamas organized a joy ride with brandished guns and banners waving along the Philidelphia corridor, even crossing into Egyptian territory.

Following hours of celebration, Egyptian police then ordered the Palestinians back across the border and threatened them with arrest if they disobeyed. But Egyptian authorities did not assure communications and some border guards stood in the way of the returning Palestinians.

In the confusion, border guards apparently shot dead Nafez Attiyeh, 34. However, and as by now we expect, Egypt blamed the shooting on celebratory gunfire.


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