Egypt begins closing breached Gaza border

Other News Materials 3 February 2008 10:52 (UTC +04:00)

( Reuters ) - Egyptian forces began closing the breached border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, stemming the flow of Palestinians across the frontier breached by Hamas Islamists last month, witnesses said.

Egyptian forces brought barbed wire and metal barricades to the only remaining gap in the Egyptian side of the border which was breached by Hamas Islamists on January 23, allowing Gazans to stock vital goods as relief from an Israeli-led blockade.

Since then Hamas has been under pressure from Egypt to stop the movement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have crossed the border.

Reuters staff at the border said the Egyptian forces closed the gap, but still allowed Palestinians and Egyptians to return to their homes.

After talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo on Saturday Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said Hamas "will restore control over this border, in cooperation with Egypt, and gradually".