Egypt 'Won't Force Gazans Back'

January 23, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: BBC News

Egypt has said it will not use force to send back Palestinians who crossed from the Gaza Strip in large numbers after parts of the border were breached.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said the border would be closed again when all the Palestinians had returned.

Tens of thousands have surged in to buy food and other supplies made scarce by an Israeli blockade - aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Gaza.

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said he would not let a humanitarian crisis develop.

"We will not hit food supplies for children or medicines for the needy," he said.

"But there is no justification for demanding we allow residents of Gaza to live normal lives while shells and rockets are fired from their streets and courtyards at Sderot and other communities in the south."