Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Egyptians killing Palestinians amid mayhem in Gaza
Will they blame the Jews for this, also? IA

RAFAH, Egypt: A Palestinian was shot dead and another wounded yesterday as hundreds stormed the buffer zone on the Gaza border with Egypt amid scenes of mayhem just hours after Israeli troops pulled out.

Egyptian forces opened fire as hundreds of Palestinians, including armed militants, swarmed into no-man’s land and up to 3,000 broke through the barbed wire on top of the border wall, witnesses said.

Nafez Attiyeh, 34, died of a bullet wound to the head, Palestinian medics said. A second Palestinian was hit in the thigh.

Egypt strongly denied yesterday witness reports that its guards fired the fatal bullet that killed a jubilant Palestinian at the Gaza border just hours after Israel’s historic pullout.

“I categorically deny this report, which is completely baseless,” said Suleiman Awad, official spokesman of President Hosni Mubarak.

“It’s inconceivable that Egyptian soldiers should have opened fire on the Palestinians after letting 3,000 cross the border for family reunions,” Awad said.

“If a Palestinian was indeed killed, it was probably as a result of celebratory fire by Palestinians marking the end of the occupation.

“It was the jubilation of a people celebrating the end of Israeli occupation and we let them cross the frontier for celebratory reunions with their families.” Palestinian medics had said earlier that Nafez Attiyeh, 34, died of a bullet wound to the head, while a second Palestinian was hit in the thigh.

Witnesses had said both were hit by Egyptian fire.

But when the numbers were getting out of control, Egyptian forces started to fire into the air, witnesses said. Overwhelmed police, some wielding guns and others with long wooden stickS, struggled to prevent Palestinians from crossing into Egypt.

Egypt has been deploying a 750-strong force to take over security at the frontier. But a truck ferrying some of the troops drove by without any of the border guards taking up position to relieve the policemen.

Palestinian interior ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khussa said the fatal shooting was under investigation, but also issued a warning.

“Any attempt to go near the (border) wall will engender a risk and we will treat it as a challenge to security,” he said. Israel voiced concern over the free movement across the border.



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