Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trapped Palestinians riot inside el-Arish airport

Riots erupted in an Egypt-Gaza Strip border town early Tuesday as about 100 Palestinians smashed doors and windows inside the el-Arish airport after being trapped there for more than a month, police and one of the rioters said, according to The Associated Press.

An AP reporter was denied entry into the airport today but saw dozens of riot police deployed outside. One of the rioters, Mohammed Ali, told the AP that police with batons and shields stormed the airport and clashed with rioters, injuring two.

The Palestinians, mostly students and government employees who do not have entry visas for Egypt, have been stuck in the airport since the closing of the Rafah border crossing June 9, when Hamas began to take control of Gaza. Many have complained of increasingly desperate living conditions.

“We are living in a 100 square meters. There are no services… We have lost our minds,” Ali told the AP by telephone early Tuesday.

Along with the 100 Palestinians in el-Arish airport, there are about 4000 other Palestinians stranded on Egypt’s side of the Gaza border. Many say they are having trouble finding food and shelter.

Egypt has said it is ruling out opening the border anytime soon to put pressure on Hamas to resolve its current conflict with Fatah, MENA reported. Egyptian officials are worried a Hamas-ruled Gaza could bolster Egypt’s own banned Islamic opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood.

For the full article, click here.


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