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Egypt Increases Security as Palestinians Continue to Cross Gaza Border


Egypt has increased security around its now open border with the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians poured into the country for a second straight day to stock up on food, fuel and household supplies.

Egyptian border guards patrolled access roads to the region Thursday, preventing Palestinians from moving beyond border-area markets. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have crossed into Egypt to visit relatives and buy goods that have been scarce since Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip last week.

An Israeli spokesman, Arieh Mekel, says Israel wants to sever ties with Gaza altogether, now that the Palestinians are getting supplies from Egypt. Egypt has rejected the idea.

Israel imposed the blockade in response to Palestinian rocket attacks into southern Israel.

In the West Bank Thursday, Israeli officials said two Palestinians were shot and killed after they infiltrated a Jewish religious seminary and stabbed three Israeli settlers.

In a separate incident, officials said Palestinian gunmen killed one Israeli police officer and wounded one other person near a Palestinian refugee camp in east Jerusalem.

In Geneva Thursday, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza to improve the humanitarian situation in the territory.

Israel has accused the Islamic militant group Hamas of manipulating the humanitarian situation in Gaza to make it appear more dire than it really is. Hamas seized control of Gaza in June of last year.

The U.N. Security Council has been meeting in New York on a statement that would call on Israel to ensure Palestinian access to humanitarian aid in Gaza. The draft also calls for an immediate end to the firing of rockets into Israel.

The president of the Security Council, Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi, says 14 of the 15 Council members, all except the United States, have agreed to the language.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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