ISMAILIA: Egypt has deployed 1,300 civilian police officers to beef up security along the Gaza-Egypt border over fears Palestinian militants might attempt to breach the frontier, Egyptian officials said on Monday. The officials, a security source and a border official, said roughly 200 police officers had deployed on Saturday, and the remainder was sent on Monday after armed Palestinians gathered along the border inside the Gaza Strip.
There is increased security at the border. About 1,200 riot police have been deployed after the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened to storm it, a source told Agence France-Presse, referring to an armed offshoot of moderate Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas Fatah movement. The police joined 750 Egyptian border guards already in place along the border. Egypt fears the gunmen could try to forcibly enter Egypt to assist stranded Palestinians in returning to the Gaza Strip, the sources said. Last month Hamas gunmen blew a six-meter hole in the Gaza-Egypt border wall, allowing nearly 1,000 stranded Palestinians to cross home. Many had been trapped in Egypt since June 25, when militants seized an Israeli soldier in a raid. The Egyptian sources said the militants at the border in Gaza were angry because the crossing, expected to be open on Saturday and Sunday, opened for only a single day. Up to 2,000 Palestinians are believed to be stuck in Egypt because of frequent border closures, but most are spread out across the country, the sources said. Dozens were waiting at the border. Palestinians technically control the crossing at Rafah but its operations can be blocked by Israel. Agencies