German Experts to Advise Egypt on Securing Gaza Border | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 14.01.2009
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German Experts to Advise Egypt on Securing Gaza Border

Technical experts from Germany are to travel to Egypt in the coming days to help secure its border with the Gaza Strip, an interior ministry official said.

Palestinian digging a tunnel between Gaza and Egypt

Israel is demanding closure of tunnels between Egypt and Gaza

Interior Ministry State Secretary August Hanning said the move to send police and interior ministry experts to Egypt 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 Hamas militia.

German Foreign MInister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Egypt with Hosni Mubarak

Steinmeier indicated Germany would help

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.

Steinmeier indicated aid

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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