Terrorists Smuggled Weapons During Rafiah Riots

MK Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) said Arab terrorists exploited the mayhem at the Gaza-Egyptian border to bring more weapons into Gaza. PA minister Mohamed Dahlan replied that the riots were expected.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 14:50

Shteinitz, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said the terrorists could not restrain themselves and that "in the first moments of Israel's abandoning {the Gaza region], they smuggled weapons."

Palestinian Authority (PA) minister Dahlan replied, "The behavior of the Arabs was expected and therefore there was smuggling."

Shteinitz also estimated that Egypt has no intention of stopping terrorists' arms smuggling and fears that Egypt and the PA will open up a common front to attack Israel in the future.

Government foreign policy adviser Zalman Shoval said, "The great danger is that both people and arms could be smuggled under the unwatchful eyes of the Egyptians, [negating] the whole purpose of coming to this agreement."

Egyptian forces allowed armed terrorists to cross the new Egyptian-Gaza international and one Arab was killed, according to the AFP French news agency.

Authorities allowed hundreds of families from the Gaza side of Rafiah, a large city which straddles both sides of the border, to enter no-man's land on the Egyptian side. Several armed terrorists waved Hamas flags. They tore down the barbed wire over the concrete border wall and used ropes to climb over it and swarm into the Egyptian side of the city.

"Anarchy reigned," according to AFP, and one Arab, 24-year-old Nafez Atiya, was killed by gunfire. An Egyptian government spokesman said armed Gaza Arabs who were shooting in the air were responsible for the killing, but eyewitnesses told AFP that Egyptian troops shot him and wounded at least three others.

The mobs, including armed terrorists, entered the buffer zone hours after Israeli soldiers withdrew and turned over responsibility for security in Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Egypt and the PA agreed Tuesday afternoon to seal the border but will wait until Wednesday night to do so. They explained that the border was left open to allow families on each side of the border to reunite.

Israel has agreed to allow 750 Egyptian armed soldiers to take responsibility for patrolling the 14-kilometer (9-mile) border, including Rafiah, which has been a drug and weapons smuggling crossing point for more than two decades.

Egypt brought in bulldozers before the IDF withdrawal and widened the road for patrols. Cairo government sources said that about 200 soldiers have been deployed so far and that they will be armed with grenade launchers.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) said, "It is absolutely unacceptable for the border to be stormed. We must resolve this problem in a civilized manner." Egyptian authorities said they will not allow crossings in the future and will be in full control after completing deployment of their soldiers.

In other areas of Gaza, at least five Arabs drowned when they ran into wind-whipped waves of the Mediterranean Sea.