May 19, 2013
Egyptian Police Block Israel Border Crossing in Fury at Kidnapping
Egyptian police enraged by the kidnapping of seven of their colleagues by Islamist gunmen in the Sinai Peninsula blocked a commercial border crossing with Israel on Sunday, security sources said.
Police have been blocking another border post, the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, since Friday to press the government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, to help free the seven.
Dozens of police expanded the protest on Sunday by blocking the al-Awja border crossing 40 km (25 miles) south of Rafah, used by trucks that carry goods between Egypt and Israel, the two security sources said. "Truck traffic has totally stopped," one said.
Gunmen demanding the release of jailed Islamist militants seized the policemen and soldiers on the road between the Sinai towns of el-Arish and Rafah on Thursday.
Hardline Islamist groups in North Sinai have exploited the collapse of state authority after the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 to launch attacks across the border into Israel and on Egyptian targets.
Presidential spokesman Omar Amer told Egyptian state television no talks were taking place with the kidnappers and that it would be unacceptable to negotiate with criminals.