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.
Boris Johnson insists relations are warm after French foreign minister had accused him earlier of having ‘lied a lot’
A draft resolution calling on all parties to cease all violence with the deployment of a UN police force in Burundi will be voted on today
Hillary Clinton has accepted the nomination for the Democrats saying that she would be 'president for Democrats, Republicans and independents'
German Chancellor says Ankara should prosecute coup plotters with all means and possibilities within rule of law
Dozen killings in last 2 months have largely targeted ruling African National Congress members
Gulen's terrorist organization FETO has extended networks in western Balkans since 1990s
With latest payment, company's financial assistance from European Commission totals more than €10 million
Iraqi authorities typically blame such attacks on ISIL group
Italy has launched an online campaign which seeks to reach the 16-35 age group to deter would be refugees who are most likely to make the perilous journey
Early this month, Turkish ship docked in Israel's Port of Ashdod bearing 11,000 tons of aid bound for blockaded enclave
Trump's comments regarding France were ignored with Francois Hollande saying that "France will always be France"
Angela Merkel has stood firm refusing to amend her refugee policy with a call to her people reminding the of the humanitarian challenge of providing a safe haven for refugees in their country
Alleged member of far-left group seized during family holiday on Dalmatian coast, local media reports
Campaign leading to Aug. 11 polls marred by deaths, dirty tricks to provoke rivals
With more than 2.5 million refugees displaced in north Eastern Nigeria, more than 9 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid
Company sees best-ever share price on day of quarterly earnings report