Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gazans held in Egypt threaten self-immolation

Gaza – Ma'an – Palestinians from the Gaza Strip detained in the Egyptian city of Al-Arish are threatening to set themselves on fire if they are not allowed to return to Gaza by 3pm Sunday afternoon.

Egyptian police are detaining about 500 Palestinians in a sports club in Al-Arish. Several of the detainees called Ma'an to explain their plight.

They are also threatening set fire to the building if they are not set free.

One of the callers, a resident of Al-Bureij refugee camp, said that the situation in the building is miserable, lacking medical care and other basic needs. He said that 10 of the detainees fainted but did not receive medical attention.

Another caller named Ubayda Al-Baghdadi said: "I have been detained in the sports club for five days, and others have been detained for ten days without even water for drinking. Gaza Strip residents who remained in Egypt after the border walls have been sealed are being gathered every day in the sports club or in schools in Al-Arish and Rafah in Egypt under strict security measures. Egyptian security accompanies every one even when they go to the rest rooms."

The Egyptian border has been calm since security forces retook control of the border, closing gaps with barbed wire last Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians burst through the walls in January, desperate to buy supplies made scarce by Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip.

Some Palestinians, like the ones currently held in Al-Arish, stayed in Egypt illegally after the border was closed.

Egyptian security forces have also deployed on roofs buildings at the Egyptian side in order to monitor the border through telescopes. (Ma'an)

p.s. I'm eagerly waiting for the good news...!


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