IDF loath to open Erez for Gazas

Liason: We have no intelligence on which refugees present security risk.

Israel has no way of knowing which of the some 200 Palestinians waiting at the Erez Crossing to enter Israel present a security risk, head of the IDF's liason office for Gaza, Col. Amir Pres, said Tuesday. Pres explained that the Palestinian liason officials who used to provide Israel with intelligence on Palestinians seeking to enter Israel were no longer at their posts. Israel did not want to see [Fatah-affiliated] Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades operatives from Gaza who have carried out terror attacks or fired Kassam rockets at Israel relocate to the West Bank, Pres said. In the meantime, the IDF has supplied the would-be refugees with food and water. Also on Tuesday, Environment Minister Gideon Ezra said that if Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas believed Palestinians fleeing Gaza should be allowed to enter Israel on their way to the West Bank, Israel should help them to do so. On Monday evening, at least two Palestinians waiting at Erez were killed and over 10 wounded in a shooting attack. The IDF said the casualties were all caused by Palestinian attackers, who hurled a hand grenade and fired bursts of automatic weapons fire at a group of dozens of people huddled in a concrete tunnel on the Gaza side of the crossing as they sought to flee the coastal strip. "The casualties are from the Palestinian fire," Maj. Tal Evram, an army spokesman said. "The incident is primarily a Palestinian terror attack on Palestinians." Evram said that in Monday evening's shooting a soldier on the Israeli side fired a few single rounds at an armed Palestinian, but the exchange between the sides was incidental to the main attack on the Palestinian civilians. Abu Mujahid, spokesman for the Hamas-linked Popular Resistance Committees, said two of the group's gunmen had fired at IDF soldiers, and the soldiers had fired back at civilians. Hamas denounced the attack by the PRC gunmen. "This is rejected. There are civilians at the crossing, and this can cause problems," said Iyad Buzum, a Hamas official in northern Gaza.