Wednesday, August 1, 2007
"Angry Bedouins hurled stones Wednesday, destroyed a police checkpoint and set a police truck on fire in the third day of unrest near Egypt's border with Gaza, police and eyewitnesses said.
The violence was sparked by an Egyptian plan to demolish houses along the country's porous boundary with the Gaza Strip in an effort to curb rampant smuggling.
The government - according to Egyptian media reports - is planning to evict the Bedouin population from a 150 meter (164 yards) strip of land along the border, to prevent traffickers from digging tunnels to smuggle weapons and people into Gaza.
On Monday, police clashed with hundreds of Bedouins, wounding dozens with rubber bullets. One of the wounded, 15-year-old Auda Mohammed Arafat, died Tuesday of his injuries.
Hours before Arafat's funeral on Wednesday, hundreds of Rafah Bedouins threw stones at police vehicles in the village of El-Massoura, in revenge for the teenager's death, said police officials, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
"The police checkpoint at El-Massoura was completely demolished," said an eyewitness who only gave his first name, Mohammed, fearing for his safety.
"You can't imagine what happened to one state security truck", Mohammed said. The few soldiers who were inside fled on foot......"