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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:23, September 19, 2005
Gaps sealed in Gaza-Egypt border
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Security forces plugged breaches in the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt Sunday to end a chaotic flood of people in both directions that stirred worries in Israel over arms smuggling after its Gaza withdrawal.

One gap had been left in the walls and fences to allow people to return home, witnesses said. Palestinian and Egyptian forces checked documents to make sure nobody else could cross.

"The chaos that existed is over," said President Mahmoud Abbas, touring the border zone with reporters. Abbas said new equipment was being installed at the main Rafah crossing and he hoped an agreement would soon be reached with Israel to allow it to reopen.

Hundreds of Palestinians trying to return to Gaza scuffled with stick-wielding Egyptian riot police who were trying to control the flow of people, a witness said.

Taking advantage of freedom they had not known for decades, thousands of people broke through the border following Israel's troop withdrawal last Monday after 38 years of occupation.

Most were Palestinians seeking to buy cheap Egyptian goods or visit relatives, but Palestinian officials said some had brought guns into Gaza. Prices for weapons and ammunition in Gaza have tumbled with the influx of new supplies.

The border chaos also added to a growing sense of lawlessness in the strip, seen as a testing ground for the statehood that Palestinians also want in the occupied West Bank.

Israel ceded control of the buffer zone on the frontier to Egypt as part of its Gaza withdrawal.

But the 750 Egyptian officers who deployed there did not stop thousands of Palestinians and Egyptians from crossing through holes, some blasted by militants.

Source: China Daily

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