Babylon & Beyond

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GAZA: Cleric OKs killing of Egyptians

April 17, 2008 |  9:46 am


Palestinian cleric issued a fatwa condoning the killing of Egyptian forces if they prevent Gazans fleeing the Israeli siege from crossing into Egypt. Needless to say, it has elicited quite a stir in Egypt, according to a news report in the Egyptian al-Masry al-Youm daily. 

The Grand Sheik of Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque, Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi, dismissed the fatwa as divisive. It came as the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza has driven Palestinians towards the Egyptian border.

Egypt has begun stepping up security measures for fear that its border would be breached again by Gazans. 

In January, hundreds of thousands of Gazans broke through the Egyptian border after Hamas militants blew open the wall leading to Egypt.

Egypt is in a tough position. The violence at its doorstep is putting its national security in jeopardy.

Deadly violence erupted Wednesday between Hamas militants and Israel, leaving three Israeli soldiers and at least 20 Palestinians dead The latest confrontations are expected to halt Egyptian efforts aimed at mediating a cease-fire between the two parties. 

“There can be no discussion of a truce in the midst of these crimes,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri reportedly said.

Noha El-Hennawy in Beirut

Photo: Palestinian children take part in a protest against the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip at the Rafah border point between Egypt and Gaza on April 10, 2008. Credit: SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images