Egyptian Police Shut Border Crossing to Israel

CAIRO (Reuters) -

Egyptian police enraged by the kidnapping of seven of their colleagues by Islamist gunmen in the Sinai Peninsula blocked a commercial border crossing with Israel on Sunday, security sources said.

Police have been blocking another border post, the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, since Friday to press the government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, to help free the seven.

Dozens of police expanded the protest on Sunday by blocking the al-Awja border crossing 25 miles south of Rafah, used by trucks that carry goods between Egypt and Israel, the two security sources said. “Truck traffic has totally stopped,” one said.

Gunmen demanding the release of jailed Islamist terrorists seized the policemen and soldiers on the road between the Sinai towns of el-Arish and Rafah on Thursday.

Ofer Lefler, spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority, which also controls Israel’s land crossings, confirmed traffic had stopped in both directions because of the police action at al-Awja, known in Israel as the Nitzana crossing.

Presidential spokesman Omar Amer told Egyptian state media that no talks with the kidnappers were taking place and that it would be unacceptable to negotiate with criminals.