Two Egyptian soldiers shot as terrorists breach border wall with bulldozer demanding release of jailed comrade in Gaza rampage
January 5, 2006
Two Egyptian soldiers killed after Palestinians breach border wall with bulldozer
The killings happened as Palestinian militants went on a rampage through the southern Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Rafah residents swarmed through the hole in the border but were prevented from entering Egypt by police.
The gunmen were protesting at the arrest of their leader, who is being questioned by police about the kidnapping of British human rights activist Kate Burton and her parents last week.
Ala al-Hams, the leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Rafah, was arrested on Tuesday night in connection with the kidnapping of Ms Burton and her parents. The arrest sparked unrest in Gaza which continued throughout yesterday. Gunmen said they would not stop the disorder until their leader was freed.
Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli defence minister, yesterday warned Palestinian and Egyptian officials that if they could not control their border Israel would have to do to it for them. Egyptian police countered that they were overrun because they did not have orders to shoot.
Militants also attempted to kidnap the parents of Rachel Corrie, the peace activist killed by Israel in 2003. Craig and Cindy Corrie, of Olympia, Washington, were visiting a home in Rafah belonging to Samir Nasrallah when gunmen burst into the house. Mr Nasrallah and his neighbours managed to persuade the gunmen to leave the American couple, whose daughter was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of Mr Nasrallah's home. "The Palestinian community is against such actions. This is an insult to us all," Mr Nasrallah told Reuters. "I cannot understand how these people can carry out such an action."
In other incidents, gunmen took over government buildings and prevented Gazans from approaching the European Union-monitored Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The terminal was opened for the first time under Palestinian control last month. The gunmen threatened to prevent Palestinian elections taking place on January 25 unless their leader was freed.
Israel and the Middle East