Monday

21st Jun 2021

Gaza protests force EU monitors to flee

  • EU monitors have no active enforcement role (Photo: EUPM)

Angry Palestinian policemen have forced European Union monitors to close the Gaza-Egypt border and flee.

Firing in the air the policemen took over the crossing on Friday morning (30 December) in protest against the killing of a police officer in a family feud in Gaza, according to news agency reports.

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The Palestinian policemen demanded the execution of the gunman who killed their colleague. They say no Palestinian official will be allowed to leave Gaza until their demands are met.

According to Israel, the crossing between Gaza and Egypt is characterised by weapons smuggling and uncontrolled passage of Palestinian fighters, since the Israeli army pulled out of Gaza this summer.

An EU mission consisting of around 60 policemen and customs officials started working at the Gaza-Egypt border in November to help bring peace to the area, but the EU monitors have no active enforcement role.

The border is closed as according to the Israeli-Palestinian agreement the crossing cannot operate if the European contingent is not present, Julio De La Guardia, spokesman for the EU monitors was quoted saying by AP.

Friday’s unrest is the latest in a number of armed kidnappings and takeovers of government buildings in the area.

A British woman, Kate Burton and her parents were kidnapped earlier this week by armed gunmen in the Gaza Strip, near the Rafah crossing. The family's fate remains unknown.

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