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.
Special representative mediating negotiations in Geneva between rival factions aimed at establishing unity government
Country's tourism minister says series of terrorist attacks have brought situation to crisis point
'Britain will act with its head and heart,' Cameron says
Protests would be 'a message against the visit of war criminal and British government's position on this visit'
A Swedish prosecutor has said that there is sufficient evidence that shows that the Uzbek regime is behind the shooting of an outspoken cleric
A Greek coast guard has been filmed opening fire causing the boat to explode, leaving refugees in the water.
The White House has said that Russia has failed to with the Minsk accord and that they not reacted the way we 'would like to see'
Germany's biggest club vows to provide refugee children with food, German lessons, football equipment
During the Eastern Economic forum, Putin has suggested that a coalition that involves Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan as well as Russia would help combat extremism
2-year-old Aylan Kurdi, family refused immigration by Canada
High Commissioner for Refugees believes EU member states have means to increase relocation opportunities to as many as 200,000 places
British PM promised to fullfil 'moral duty' yet seeks comprehensive solution
Attacks targeted Far North region of country, where Cameroon's army is struggling to contain the overflow of violence from Boko Haram
EU foreign affairs head proposed to defence ministers to discuss capture and destruction of smugglers' vessels
Cluster bombs continue to be used in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine & Yemen despite global ban, UN report says
Family of a Syrian toddler whose body washed up on a Turkish beach has been trying to emigrate to Canada after fleeing war-torn town of Kobani