Security raised ahead of Gaza protest


Israeli police are heightening security in response to a planned Palestinian protest of the Gaza Strip blockade.

Some 40,000 Palestinians are expected to march along the Gaza border Monday against Israel’s economic embargo on the coastal territory. Israeli intelligence officials warned Sunday that tens of thousands of Gazans were planning to form a human chain from Rafah to the Erez border.

The Israeli army added troops along the border in preparation for the march, expected after gasoline ran out in Gaza over the weekend. A large contingent of police will join the soldiers to handle any potential problems.

Israel’s concerns are based on the breach of the Gaza-Egyptian border a month ago, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians streamed across Rafah into Egypt after Hamas blew up the wall there.

An official Hamas source maintained that the mass flow toward the border would be spontaneous and was not based on any plan.

The head of the Palestinian Popular Anti-Siege Committee protest, Jamal al-Khudary, said: “We do not have intentions of approaching the fence, either in the north or the south. We hope all the participants will abide by the instructions and we will try to prevent any violations.”

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