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News Analysis: Gaza Strip biggest loser of insecurity in Egypt's Sinai

By Osama Radi, Emad Drimly (Xinhua)

08:25, August 08, 2012

Egyptian soldiers stand guard near the border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 6, 2012. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) extended on Monday its support to the Egyptian leadership and people after Sunday's deadly attack against a security checkpoint that caused the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers and wounded others in North Sinai. (Xinhua File Photo/Khaled Omar)

GAZA, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Sunday's attack on a security checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai, just few kilometers south of Rafah crossing with Gaza Strip, was a tough test to the future ties between the Egyptian government and Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Palestinian enclave.

The Islamic movement immediately condemned the attack, which killed 16 Egyptian soldiers and officers and wounded seven others. Hamas has also announced that it took urgent security measures to control the borderline with Egypt, mainly shutting down all the smuggling tunnels underneath the border.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian authorities announced Rafah border crossing is closed until further notice, while Israel closed the key commercial crossing of Kerem Shahalom. Observers believe that the Hamas-rule Gaza Strip on Monday became completely isolated from the rest of the world.

The attack on the checkpoint was the most serious one in Egypt since the outbreak of the protests in January 2011, which toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. Since then, security deteriorated in Sinai, where Israel accuses Gaza militants of being behind it.

Palestinian observers believe that the Gaza Strip is the biggest losing party due to the ongoing security deterioration in the desert of Sinai, because it will affect Hamas' agenda of getting rid of the burdens of the Israeli blockade with Egypt's help.

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