Gaza-Egypt border closed

The Gaza Strip's border with Egypt was closed on Friday after Palestinian policemen and gunmen imposed a blockade on the main crossing point at Rafah, a spokesman for European Union security monitors said. "Palestinian police advised us to leave. We left to Kerem Shalom," said the spokesman, Julio de la Guardia, referring to an Israeli terminal on the Gaza boundary. "Rafah crossing is closed because the monitors left."

Dozens of Palestinian policemen, angry at the growing lawlessness in the Gaza Strip, have stormed the southern border crossing at Rafah, officials say. The police, backed by gunmen from the Fatah faction, blocked access to the crossing with Egypt and forced European Union monitors manning it to flee.

On Wednesday, a UK human rights worker was kidnapped a short distance away. The Palestinian Authority took control of the crossing last month after a deal brokered by the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, EU monitors must be present for the crossing to operate.

Friday's action follows disturbances a day earlier when a policeman and another man were killed in a clan feud which began after a man was arrested, reports BBC news. I.L.

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