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Hamas helps Egypt tighten Gaza border

  • Story Highlights
  • Egyptian, Hamas security forces building new fences along Egypt-Gaza border
  • Last week, thousands of Palestinians rushed into Egypt after border wall blast
  • They bought supplies unavailable in Gaza because of Israeli border clampdown
  • Israel concerned that terrorists, weapons can enter Gaza if border not secure
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Egyptian and Hamas security forces began sealing parts of the Gaza-Egypt border Monday to stem the flow of Palestinians into Egypt, which has dropped off since last week's border breach.

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Egyptian soldiers install a fence along the border Monday between Egypt and the Gaza town of Rafah.

The security forces erected barbed wire barriers and constructed metal fences along extensive stretches of the 4-foot-wide wall that separates Egypt and Gaza.

More Hamas security personnel manned the border area on Monday than last week. They took a more active role in policing the flow of traffic.

Thousands of Palestinians continued to cross into Egypt through other areas of the damaged border walls, but in much lower numbers than last week, when the border was overrun by tens of thousands of Gazans.

Palestinian militants, acting with the approval of the Hamas leadership, blasted through parts of the wall Wednesday. That allowed tens of thousands of Palestinians to flood into Egypt for supplies and medical attention unavailable inside Gaza because of Israel's clampdown on its borders.

Egypt is under pressure by Israel and the United States to reseal the Rafah border crossing to prevent the flow of terrorists and weapons into Hamas-controlled Gaza.

The border is supposed to be jointly maintained by Egypt and the Palestinian Authority under the oversight of the European Union monitors, but it has been closed since Hamas took over Gaza and split with the Palestinian Authority leadership last year.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to go to Egypt Wednesday for talks on the situation with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Hamas effectively controls the Gaza side of the border now and will continue to in the future, a senior Hamas adviser in Gaza said.

"When we decide to open it, [we] open it, when we decide to close it, [we] close it -- us and the Egyptians," Ahmed Yusif said.

Yusif is a senior adviser to former Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, the Hamas official who is the de facto leader of Gaza.

He rejected any international monitors at the Rafah border.

"It shouldn't be the Israelis ... involved, or the Europeans, because it's the Egyptian security," Yusif said. "Israel has nothing to do when it comes to the security with that gate." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Kevin Flower, Ben Wedeman and Aneesh Raman contributed to this report.

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