Saturday, April 12, 2008

Exclusive: Egyptian threat deters Hamas from second bid to smash through Gaza border

April 10, 2008, 12:04 PM (GMT+02:00)

DEBKAfile's military sources report that, following the Palestinian attack on the Israel-Gaza border fuel terminal that supplies its own population, Hamas plans a mass protest Thursday, April 10 against the "Israeli and Egyptian blockade" of the Gaza Strip. Our sources report that a tough Egyptian message put Hamas off its plan for another attempt to smash through the Gaza border to Egyptian Sinai. Cairo warned that this time, any Palestinians forcing their way through would be "shot down like rats." To drive the message home, convoys of Egyptian truck with visible firing positions and open crates of ammo have been rolling up and down the Gaza border past the new wall they have built the length of the Philadelphi border strip.

Thursday, Egyptian security forces drawn from Cairo and Ismailia were still massing on the Sinai side of Rafah, after Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya announced that the next Palestinian breakthrough to Sinai would be broader and extend to all of Gaza's borders. (Its only other one is with Israel)

Israel in contrast did nothing to make good on defense minister Ehud Barak's threat to "make Hamas pay" for the rising violence against civilians emanating from the territory it governs. It is widely predicted that Israel will carry on shipping fuel to Gaza through the Nahal Oz terminal where Wednesday, April 9. Palestinian gunmen murdered two Israeli energy company workers employed in keeping this lifeline open for the Gaza population.

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