Egypt ‘declares emergency’ in Sinai 5Aug10 August 6, 2010

Palestine Note -  5 August 2010

Egypt has sent extra security forces to its border with Israeli a few days after guerrillas reportedly fired rockets into Israel and neighboring Jordan, killing a Jordanian man.

According to security officials quoted by Ma’an News Agency, the Egyptian government has declared a state of “extreme emergency” in the sensitive Sinai Peninsula border region.

On Wednesday Egypt blamed unnamed Palestinian factions from Gaza for the rocket attacks, although Hamas officials dismissed this accusation as “silly.”

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, however, said he holds Hamas responsible for the rockets and vowed to retaliate, likely in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu’s pronouncement followed a series of deadly Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in retaliation for sporadic rockets and mortars emerging from the Strip.

The Hamas-led government in Gaza has enforced an informal ceasefire with Israel since the end of a three-week military offensive against Gaza in January 2009 which left some 1,400 Palestinians dead.

Adding to fears of war this week was a deadly skirmish between Israeli and Lebanese forces along their border on Tuesday. Three Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist, and an Israeli officer were killed in the brief confrontation.

Also on Thursday, fighters in Gaza affiliated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said they fired two mortar shells at an Israeli military base the previous night, but Israeli officials said there were no reports of shelling.

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