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Report: Clinton assures Israel Mursi will keep Gaza closure

July 16, 2012 4:30 P.M. (Updated: July 17, 2012 6:01 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Israeli officials during her visit to the country on Monday that the new Egyptian president had promised her he would not end the closure of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli news site said.

Clinton secured a promise from Muhammad Mursi, Egypt's first Islamist president, that it would not fully open the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, the sole entry and exit point not controlled by Israel, Israel's Inyan Merkazi ('Central Issues') news site said.

Israel maintains a land, sea and air blockade on the Gaza Strip, tightened five years ago when Hamas took control of the coastal enclave.

Quoting unnamed Israeli sources, the site said Clinton reassured Israeli officials that Mursi will respect the 1979 peace deal between Israel and Egypt, and intends to request some amendments to its terms.

The new Egyptian president wants to deploy more Egyptian security forces to the Sinai peninsula which borders Israel, currently restricted under the Camp David agreement.

Officials in the Gaza Strip have expressed optimism that Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood party is close to Gaza rulers Hamas, would break a hole in the blockade by fully opening the Rafah border.

It was shut in 2006 under Israel and Egypt's blockade of the enclave, but reopened in May 2011, three months after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted by massive street protests against his rule.
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