German experts to advise Egypt on securing Gaza border

January 14th, 2009 - 9:13 am ICT by IANS  

Berlin, Jan 14 (DPA) Technical experts from Germany’s federal police and interior ministry are to travel to Egypt in the coming days to help Egypt secure its border with the Gaza Strip, the state secretary in the ministry has said.August Hanning said late Tuesday the move would fulfill a request from the Egyptian government “to support securing Egypt’s border area with German expertise”.

One of Israel’s key demands for a ceasefire of its 18-day offensive into Gaza is destruction or closure of the tunnels underneath the Egyptian border used to smuggle weapons into Gaza for the militant Hamas.

Israel charges the rockets, which have an increasingly long reach into Israel, are supplied by Iran and smuggled across the Egyptian border.

Details of the German mission were not available. Sources close to the ministry said it could involve advice on either stopping the smuggling or setting up controls in the hinterland.

Active police help was not planned.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier indicated during his weekend visit to the Middle East that professionals from Germany’s police and customs departments would travel to the region within the current week.

The German government has also declared its readiness to participate in an international peacekeeping operation.

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