Egypt denies steel wall in Gaza border after Hamas protest
Egypt confirmed its plan on building along its border with Gaza but said it is not building what some reports have said is a steel wall to block cross-border tunnels.
Egypt confirmed on Tuesday it is engaged in construction along its border with Gaza but said it is not building what some reports have said is a steel wall to block cross-border tunnels.
At least 500 Hamas supporters rallied along the border on Monday to condemn the building of the wall.
Hamas have called on Egypt to stop building such a wall along the Gaza border and Egyptian security officials have confirmed a steel barrier is being built.
Tunnel builders say around 150 tunnels along the border between Egypt and Gaza provide a vital supply link for the enclave whose imports are blocked by Israel.
Until now the foreign ministry had refused to comment, but at a news conference ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said:
"The procedures that Egypt is undertaking inside its lands, whether building or construction work along the border with the Gaza Strip, is an Egyptian concern that is related to Egypt and Egyptian national security."
"We refuse to call the construction a steel wall and wonder where such a name came from," he added.
Zaki said the border work had nothing to do with Egyptian mediation between the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza ruler Hamas and that it would continue even if Hamas were to sign an Egyptian-brokered agreement.
Reuters Last Mod: 23 Aralık 2009, 10:46