Egypt Defends Smuggling Barrier With Gaza

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has defended an underground steel wall along the border with neighboring Gaza as necessary for his nation’s security.

Speaking to senior police officers Sunday, Mubarak said Egypt began the the barrier after a series of terrorist attack on tourist resorts in the Sinai peninsula neighboring Gaza.

The tunnels under the border are mainly used to supply the blockaded territories with food, medicine and consumer products.

Hamas is trying to rally Arab and Muslim public opinion against the barrier, dubbing it the “death wall.” Protesters have picketed Egyptian embassies in Lebanon and Jordan this month.

Mubarak lashed out at the protests as “blackmail.”

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