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Egyptian security: 12 killed in skirmish at Gaza border

Jan. 29, 2011 3:05 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 30, 2011 3:36 P.M.)
SINAI PENINSULA, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Palestinian sources say 12 people including Bedouins and Egyptian police officers were killed Saturday in clashes in the Sinai Peninsula, in what appeared to be an attempt by tribes in the region to take control of the swath of land south of the Egypt-Gaza border.

Gunshots were heard in the Egyptian city of Rafah as Bedouins attempted to occupy the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip. Rocket-propelled Grenades were fired at Egyptian soldiers, witnesses said, causing the near-total destruction of one home near the border area, and damage to a sector of the Gaza-Egypt border fence.

Gaza government police were said to have fixed the breach immediately, while eyewitnesses said police forces deployed across the border area on the Gaza side, in an apparent attempt to prevent Gaza residents from entering Egypt.

Armed groups attacked Egyptian police in the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zweid, set fire to one police station and were behind the slaying of one officer identified as 36-year-old Jum’a Hamid after he was abducted along with two others, security sources said.

Security officials also said Bedouins were behind an earlier attack on an Egyptian security checkpoint, where four officers were killed and four others injured. All were transported to hospital in Al-Arish. Four banks and several state buildings were also reportedly set ablaze and looted.
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