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Smuggling tunnel in Gaza
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Egyptian minister slams Al-Jazeera for 'instigating civil war'
Minister of legal affairs says Qatari station's reports on Gaza barrier 'inflaming Arab streets'

Egypt's minister of legal affairs and parliamentary councils, Mofid Shehab, criticized Al-Jazeera Saturday for instigating "a Qatari civil war" with its reports on a steel barrier being built on the border with Gaza.

 

"A number of Arab satellite stations, and this one especially, have placed themselves as responsible for the sovereignty of our country, and as usual have poisoned the public against the state," Shehab said in an interview with the state-owned Al-Ahram.

 

He said television networks were working against the Egyptian government "in order to engender a civil war and inflame the Egyptian and Arab streets, and cause a clash of official authorities".

 

Shehab also compared the stations' broadcasts with reports that emerged during Operation Cast Lead. "They have launched a war against the Egyptians just as they did during the barbaric attack on Gaza a year ago," he said.

 

The minister said the channel was purposefully choosing to interview officials opposed to the Egyptian regime.

 

"Why didn't Al-Jazeera have a single word of condemnation to say about the weapons, missiles, and smart bombs that were sent from Al Udeid Base (i.e.: a US base in Qatar) to Israel in order to bomb the residents of Gaza?" he asked.

 

Shehab's criticism followed reports on the separation barrier currently being erected by Egypt on its border with Gaza in order to eradicate smuggling tunnels being dug there.

 

"This civil war network is first and foremost an Israeli tool," he said. "It transferred reports on the Egyptian construction on the border from the news agencies in Israel and has begun to weave its usual plot."

 

The minister confirmed that armed forces were guarding construction work on the barrier, which was aimed at "securing Egypt's border and its people".

 

"These activities are not new, but rather a development of the situation that existed beforehand," he said, referring to an incident in which thousands of Gazans burst through the Rafah crossing into Egypt in January of 2008.

 

"I ask all Egyptians, and all those who support their homeland, are you willing to accept the violation of your country's sovereignty?"

 

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