Egyptian Soldier Killed in Clashes with Palestinians, Viva Palestina Convoy
by IPT News • Jan 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm
All hell seems to breaking loose on the third Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza. The group, established by British MP George Galloway, has created a deep record of Hamas support in its one year of existence.
On Wednesday, convoy participants and Palestinians clashed with Egyptian riot police at the border with Gaza in a melee that left one Egyptian soldier shot dead. Reports indicate a number of convoy participants were arrested, including some Americans.
Hamas had called for a demonstration to protest Egypt's refusal to let the entire convoy cross into Gaza and the situation broke down into rock throwing and other violence. Viva Palestina officials say they had an agreement with Egypt to allow them into Gaza, something Egypt denies. Dozens of trucks with medical supplies were reportedly let through, but that did not dissipate the anger among convoy participants.
An Associated Press report quotes Galloway calling the Egyptian decision "unconscionable."
But an Egyptian ministry spokesman said his country upheld its part of the agreement and said the activists had "provoked" the fight. "We did not mislead anyone. They have their interests ... and they want to make up problems and clash with Egypt," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki.
It's the second time a Palestinian gunman has killed an Egyptian officer in the past year. A major was killed at the beginning of Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza.
Egypt has been building a steel wall designed to block tunnels into Gaza that have been used to defy a blockade targeting the Hamas government. Anger over that move is believed to have heightened passions at the border Wednesday.
Update: Viva Palestina officials are saying they have crossed the border into Gaza.