World Bulletin / News Desk
The head of the Hamas government in Gaza urged Egypt on Thursday to open a vital border crossing closed since gunmen killed 16 Egyptian guards in neighbouring Sinai on Sunday.
Ismail Haniyeh pledged his support for Egypt's investigations of the attack, which has led to the biggest Egyptian military assault in the Sinai Peninsula in nearly 40 years.
"At the same time I call upon my brother, Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi to open the Rafah crossing, to regain a lifeline for Gaza," Haniyeh said at a dinner ending the daylong Ramadan fast.
"Gaza could never be anything but a source of stability for Egypt," Haniyeh added, saying those responsible for the Sinai slayings were conspiring to tighten an Israeli blockade on Gaza in force since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.
Gaza's rulers have ruled out suggestions that Palestinian gunmen took part in the Sinai massacre, and have criticised Cairo for imposing "collective punishment" on the impoverished coastal enclave.
The Rafah crossing normally sees some 800 people a day leave for Egypt and beyond, and is the only window on the world for the vast majority of Gazans.
The Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza said Egypt had agreed to a limited reopening of the border, which would permit hundreds of Gaza residents stranded in Sinai to cross back into the coastal territory on Friday. But nobody would be permitted to reach Egypt from Gaza.
"The Rafah crossing will be open on Friday for returnees," the statement said.
No one has claimed responsibility for Sunday's assault, in which the assailants seized two armoured vehicles to storm an Israeli border crossing.
Egyptian officials suggested initially that Palestinian gunmen were involved in the Sinai attack.
Haniyeh denied this, arguing that the attack's "prime beneficiary was the occupation," a common shorthand for Israel by Hamas officials.
"Gaza is innocent of this crime. Neither our investigations nor our contacts have proven so far anyone from Gaza was involved," Haniyeh said.
"We have a complicated situation… We were not able to stitch it together to a final deal. That was a blow I think to everybody involved, and the question is what we can do now," Eide told reporters in Nicosia.
The migrants, mostly Africans and including two women and four children, were spotted off the coast of the capital Tripoli.
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack
Talks to focus on Turkey’s bid to join EU as well as counterterrorism, migration and visa liberalization
Emmanuel Macron to host mediation meeting between Libya's UN-backed premier, military rival
Thousands of Polish people demonstrated over amendments to widen government's authority over judiciary
French President Emmanuel Macron will host the meeting, the presidency said in a statement on Monday.
In addition to the dead, there were 28 injured -- 20 of them severely -- who were being treated at seven local hospitals, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters.
The walk-out comes as violent and sometimes deadly protests continue amid a political and economic crisis that has led to shortages of basic goods and soaring inflation.
Three Palestinians from the Qalandiya Refugee Camp injured protesting Israel’s new restrictions at Al-Aqsa Mosque
Edgar Lungu expels ruling party members for insubordination, including one potential challenger for his seat
Book by former surgeon to South African statesman violates doctor-patient confidentiality, says Nelson Mandela's grandson
Israeli officials signalled they may be open to changing the measures at the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, after the installation of metal detectors at entrances following an attack that killed two policemen stoked Palestinian anger.
Israel reportedly arrests senior Hamas leaders during overnight raids in occupied West Bank
Algeria has refused to classify Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations