Friday, February 27, 2004

Egypt to guard border?

Israel has asked Egypt to take over border security between Gaza and Egypt when Israel pulls out of Gaza:

Israel has reportedly asked Egypt to take control of part of the Gaza Strip in the event of an Israeli withdrawal.

The idea was discussed when Israeli intelligence officials visited Cairo earlier this month, Israeli security sources were quoted as saying.

Under the plan, Egyptian forces would replace Israeli troops in a narrow corridor between the town of Rafah in Gaza and the Egyptian border.

[...]

Israel is concerned that the Islamic militant group Hamas will take over in Gaza if Israel withdraws, making the flow of illicit arms impossible to control.

Egypt is also reportedly worried that the spread of Hamas' power in Gaza will influence Islamic fundamentalists in Egypt and destabilise Hosni Mubarak's government.

Former Israeli Defence Minster Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Egypt had promised to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza if Israel pulled out, Israel radio reported.


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