( dpa ) - Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak said Thursday he was sparing no efforts to avert a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip resulting from an Israeli blockade as domestic pressure mounts for concrete action to help the Palestinians.
" Egypt would not accept conditions that would lead to the starvation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip," Mubarak told a conference at the police academy.
Israel has recently tightened its siege of Gaza after a surge in rocket attacks from the territory, which has been run by the militant Islamic group Hamas since it ousted fighters from the rival faction Fatah after deadly clashes in June.
Mubarak urged Palestinian factions to resolve their disagreements and end their rivalry, saying the suffering of their people should be their main concern.
In a reference to Hamas, the president cautioned the Palestinians against "making up crises" with the Egyptian security forces guarding the border with the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian border guards had beaten Palestinian protestors and sprayed them with water cannon a day before gunmen blew up holes in the border wall on Wednesday, allowing thousands of Gazans to stream into Egypt's border towns.
Hamas has refused to take direct responsibility for the breaches in the border but its leaders had repeatedly urged Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing.
Hamas' exiled political leader, Khalid Mishal, welcomed at a congregation of radical Palestinian factions in Damascus Wednesday a proposal by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to let it run the Rafah crossing jointly, an idea backed by Cairo and the US.
The Damascus conference, however, slammed Egypt, the PA and Gulf Arab countries for their alliance with the US and acceptance of negotiations as the solution to the conflict with Israel.
Mishal and other radical leaders urged Arab peoples "to rise against their leaders" in support of the Palestinians.
The call seems to have been heeded in some Arab countries where governments have been under mounting domestic pressure to take action against Israel's blockade.
In Egypt, demonstrations were staged Wednesday across Cairo in solidarity with the Palestinians. More were planned for Thursday and Friday.
Hundreds of members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group were rounded up Wednesday for staging an "illegal protest." Police chased demonstrators through the streets of central Cairo.
Earlier in the week, security forces arrested at least 50 members of the group across the country ahead of municipal elections. Some 34 members were rounded up Thursday.
The Gaza crisis has prompted the authorities to tighten controls on the group. The Muslim Brotherhood commands a form of spiritual leadership over Islamic fundamentalist movements in the Arab world, including Hamas.
The group's spiritual leader, Muhammad Mahdi Akif, was asked by Mishal of Hamas before Israel cut off fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip to step up pressure on Mubarak's government, Brotherhood sources told the Egyptian daily al-Masri al-Youm.
"The big demonstration of the Brotherhood will take place on Friday in many provinces outside big mosques and will be launched from the Grand al-Azhar mosque in Cairo," the sources said.
"We will take to the streets to defend our brethren in Gaza even at the risk of facing military trials," the sources quoted Akif Akif as saying.