Friday, January 25, 2008
PEOPLE POWER DAY 2
US presses Egypt on Gaza border
Gazans have been returning with everything from fuel to camels
The US has urged the Egyptian government to secure its border with Gaza after thousands of people crossed from the Israeli-blockaded territory.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she understood it was "difficult" but the border "needs to be protected".
Militants destroyed parts of the fence on Wednesday, sparking an exodus.
Hundreds of Egyptian security personnel have moved into the area but have not yet tried to stop the traffic, BBC correspondent Ian Pannell said.
Ms Rice, arriving for talks in Colombia, said she understood Egypt's position, but said: "It is an international border, it needs to be protected and I believe that the Egyptians understand the importance of doing that."
12km (7.4 miles) long
Egyptian side patrolled by 750 soldiers under 2005 agreement with Israel
Border crossing terminal south of town of Rafah
PA control of terminal under EU supervision collapsed after Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007. Border closed almost continuously since.
'Wartime' on Israeli border
The United Nations has calculated that as much as half of the 1.5 million population of the territory has crossed the border, according to the AFP news agency.
Our correspondent says there are so many Palestinians in Rafah that it is almost as if the town has been annexed by Gaza.
The main street has become an enormous open-air market, selling all kinds of goods, including fuel, goats and other livestock, and cigarettes.