Hamas urges Egypt to stop building Gaza wall

BEIRUT - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal urged Egypt on Friday to stop building an underground wall along its border with Gaza, which the Islamist group has said would further choke the impoverished enclave.

By (AFP)

Published: Sun 17 Jan 2010, 1:07 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:39 AM

“We call on the Egyptian leadership to stop building the iron wall... as walls are erected between enemies, not brothers,” the exiled Palestinian Islamist leader said at a conference in Beirut in support of resistance groups.

“How can the ‘national security’ of any state be used as an excuse to build a wall between Arab brothers?” he asked.

Since Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007 it has relied on smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt to defy the Israeli blockade and its leaders have used trips to Cairo to escape international isolation.

But after years of largely ignoring tunnel smuggling — which primarily brings in much-needed household goods but is also used by Hamas to import weapons and cash — Egypt has begun building a massive underground wall.

The United States and Israel have voiced support for the wall, arguing that it will stop weapons smuggling.

Cairo — which states support for Palestinians and has long mediated between both Israel and Hamas and among Palestinian factions — has only implicitly admitted constructing the iron barrier and has provided no details on its size.

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