Hosni Mubarak
Photo: Reuters

Egypt refuses full opening of Gaza crossing

Mubarak says won't fully open Rafah crossing unless Abbas forces control border post. Assad to US senator: Israeli massacre in Gaza must be stopped

Egypt's president says his country will not fully open its crossing into the Gaza Strip unless Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority is in control of the border post, resisting demands Egypt do so amid Israel's onslaught against Hamas.


Egypt has come under heavy criticism in the Arab world over its refusal over the past year to open the Rafah crossing, which has helped complete an Israeli blockade of the territory.


Since Israel's offensive in Gaza began Saturday, Egypt has allowed some wounded to cross from Gaza for treatment and some humanitarian supplies to enter the territory.


President Hosni Mubarak said in a televised speech Tuesday that Israel must "stop the aggression" against Gaza and accept an unconditional ceasefire.


Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit criticized Hassan Nasrallah's speech from Monday in which the Hizbullah leader called on Egyptian army officials to pressure their government into opening the border and assist Hamas.


"This man (Nasrallah) spoke of Egypt's armed forces. These honorable armed forces are meant to protect Egypt and if he does not know that, I am telling him: No and no!" said Aboul Gheit.  


 "The honorable armed forces are capable of defending this homeland from people like you. You want to create chaos in this region as a service to interests that are not for the good of this region."  


Turkish sources told the al-Hayat newspaper that Turkey and Egypt plan to warn Israel that if a ground operation is launched in Gaza, Hizbullah might open another front in south Lebanon.


The report said Aboul Gheit visited Ankara on Monday and presented his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan with a document detailing a four-point plan aimed at restoring order and ending the Israeli operation in Gaza.


Also on Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar Assad said "the massacre Israel is carrying out against unarmed Palestinians in Gaza must be stopped."


During his meeting with US Senator ((Rep.) Arlen Specter, Assad added "the roadblocks must be lifted and the crossings should be reopened immediately."


פרסום ראשון: 12.30.08, 15:02
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