Palestinian policeman killed in gunfight at Rafah Crossing

Three others wounded in clashes that erupt after argument between gunman and police about his family crossing into Egypt.

ppl under rafah sign 298 (photo credit: AP)
ppl under rafah sign 298
(photo credit: AP)
A member of the Palestinian National Security Force was killed and two others were wounded, in a firefight with Palestinian gunmen at the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon. The clashes erupted following an argument between one of the gunman and police about his family crossing the terminal into Egypt, Palestinian officials reported. An unarmed Palestinian citizen was also hurt in the firefight. Palestinian sources told Israel Radio that the gunmen, who were part of an armed gang in Rafah, threw stones at the policeman before firing at them. An official from the team of European observers at the crossing said that it remained open since the clashes were outside the terminal. On Thursday night, a member of the Fatah-affiliated Force 17 security force was killed and another three Palestinians were wounded in a gunfight in Ramallah. Israel Radio reported that the clashes erupted after the security force tried to arrest several members of a large gang in the West Bank city. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas's Damascus-based leader Khaled Mashaal are scheduled to meet with Egyptian General Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Cairo this weekend to discuss the issue of captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit. Palestinian sources told the London-based Al-Quds el-Arab newspaper that Suleiman was set to update Abbas and Mashaal on the Israeli response to the list of Palestinian prisoners submitted by Schalit's captors and inform them of the progress on the issue. Arab media sources said that Suleiman persuaded the two to make the trip to Egypt in the wake of the recent escalation in violence and since Israel told Egypt to act to stop the Kassam rocket fire or face the prospect of a large-scale IDF operation in the Gaza Strip. Israel Radio reported that Abbas and Mashaal would also discuss PA Interior Minister Hani Kawassmeh's submitted resignation, renewed talks in Damascus about reforms in the PLO and clauses of the Mecca agreement yet to be implemented.