Got to hand it to Condi Rice. She compelled the Israelis to hand over this border crossing to the Palestinian Arabs. And now look what a paradigm of peace, tolerance, and good government it is! From AP, with thanks to JE:
RAFAH, Gaza Strip – Dozens of Palestinian gunmen firing in the air blocked access to the Gaza-Egypt border and took over four government buildings Wednesday, demanding the release of their leader.
The gunmen belong to the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a violent offshoot of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party. Fatah-affiliated vigilantes demanding government jobs or trying to get friends out of prison have been responsible for much of the growing anarchy in Gaza, particularly since Israel’s pullout in September.
The latest incident began late Tuesday, when Palestinian intelligence arrested Alaa al-Hams, an Al Aqsa militant, on suspicion he and his followers kidnapped British human rights activist Kate Burton and her parents for two days last week. The Burtons were among 19 foreigners abducted by Fatah gunmen in Gaza in recent months. All have been freed unharmed.
Following al-Hams’ detention, his followers fired at the Palestinian security headquarters in the southern town of Rafah where he was being held.
On Wednesday morning, some 40 masked gunmen took over the central election office in Rafah, the local branch of the Palestinian parliament, a local court and another government building. Gunmen were seen on rooftops, inside the buildings and posted at the main doors. Most workers fled the buildings.
A truckload of gunmen then drove to the nearby Rafah border crossing, Gaza’s main gate to the world.
Firing in the air, they closed the entrance gate to the crossing compound and told waiting passengers to leave the area. They also set up an impromptu checkpoint at the access road to the crossing, turning away all travelers after initially letting some pass. One of the gunmen, who gave his name as Ahmed, said the group is demanding al-Hams’ release.
Firing into the air? Well, maybe there was a wedding.