Indefinite Curfew Imposed on Rafah

An indefinite curfew was imposed on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip last night after a demonstration by local youths protesting the introduction of a civilian administration by the Israeli authorities. Meanwhile, the army lifted a curfew on the Druze village of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights but continued an intensive search for two terrorists believed to have infiltrated the territory from Syria.

Tension has been running high in the Gaza Strip since Defense Minister Ariel Sharon separated the military from the civilian administration a month ago. The local population saw the move as the beginning of unilateral autonomy aimed at perpetuating Israel’s control of the territory. A protest demonstration last month ended in a clash with Israeli troops in which a Rafah youth was shot.

The situation in Rafah is aggravated by the fact that the old international boundary line between Israel and Egypt runs through the town as a result of its expansion since it was occupied by Israel in 1967. This is expected to create new tension when Israel returns Sinai to Egypt next April.

In another development, one Ghanaian soldier was killed Saturday night and another was severely injured when a new outpost they were manning in southern Lebanon came under automatic fire. Both men were part of the Ghanaian contingent of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). They are believed to have been attacked by Palestinians. Since UNIFIL was formed in March, 1978, 71 soldiers have been killed, including three from Ghana.

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