Hamas Protests at Rafah Crossing

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CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - Warnings of a second border breaching at the Rafah crossing, separating the Egyptian Sinai from the Gaza Strip, passed without incident Sunday.

While hundreds of Hamas supporters rallied on the Gaza side of the crossing, Egypt deployed 700 border guards on its side, who apparently helped convince the demonstrators not to carry out the planned breaching.

In January, tens of thousands of Gazans tore down the concrete barrier near the Rafah crossing after it was partially blown up by explosives planted in and around the wall.

Speaking to participants at Sunday's rally, Ahmed Bahr, acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, blasted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for not reopening Rafah.

Bahr also criticized Mubarak's government for preventing a delegation of senior Hamas representatives from traveling to other Arab countries.

"A few days ago we received an invitation from parliamentarians to travel to Arab countries, but we were surprised when the Egyptian authorities refused to give us permission to leave the Gaza Strip," Bahr said.

Senior Hamas spokesman Fawzi Bahoum said the rally was meant to cast a spotlight on the anger and frustration of Palestinians in Gaza, who want the border crossings open.

"Today we wanted to send a message to the Egyptian and Arab leadership about the need to end the siege against 1.5 million Palestinians," Bahoum said.

"Those who are refusing to lift the siege are actually taking part in the siege against the Palestinians," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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