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Hamas supporters demonstrate near Israel-Gaza crossings
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11:53, April 20, 2008

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Islamic Hamas movement on Saturday called on Gaza residents to demonstrate in front of an Israeli crossing in northern Gaza Strip against sanctions imposed on the coastal enclave.

The people should move "before Gaza fully bursts and before the(Israeli) occupation loses its head," said Ayman Taha, a spokesman for Hamas which rules Gaza Strip, adding that "Israel must expect more explosions soon."

At 11:00 a.m. (0900 GMT), about 200 Palestinian women demonstrated in front of Erez crossing linking Israel with northern Gaza Strip and some 20 women gathered in demonstration at Karni commercial crossing in eastern Gaza city.

At Erez, the women stood for one hour about 150 meters away from the Israeli gates, chanting slogans against the Israeli siege and holding Palestinian and Hamas flags. The gatherings ended peacefully.

"Going to demonstrate at the (Israeli) occupation's crossings around Gaza Strip refute claims that Gaza Strip residents' explosions were aimed at Egypt," Hamas said in a statement.

Hamas' demonstrations came hours after the Islamic movement claimed responsibility for wounding 13 Israeli soldiers in a suicide attack at Kerem Shalom crossing in southeast Gaza Strip.

The attack also coincides with Egyptian efforts to make ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. A Hamas delegation is to visit Syria today to brief exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on results of Hamas-Egypt talks about the ceasefire.

Israel completely sealed off Gaza Strip in June last year when Hamas violently took over the territory from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' forces. Israel allows only reduced amount of humanitarian needs into the densely-populated strip.

In January, Hamas blew up the borders with Egypt and allowed hundreds of thousands of Gazans to cross freely into Sinai for shopping. Recently, Egypt beefed up military presence alongside its borders with Gaza to thwart an expected breach of the frontiers.


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