GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip, AP – Palestinian police and gunmen shot in the air near the Gaza-Egypt border crossing Tuesday, security officials said, but denied intial reports of a firefight.
Witnesses initially said gunmen tried to break into the Rafah crossing and exchanged fire with border guards. Hospital officials said a policeman was wounded, but security officials said he accidentally shot himself.
In recent days, masked gunmen have been manning an impromptu checkpoint on the road to the Rafah crossing and have said they would not let travelers with VIP documents pass.
The gunmen said the checkpoint was protest, accusing Palestinian officials of refusing to let leaders of militant groups cross the border. Palestinian officials deny any such measures.
The checkpoint is one of many signs of growing chaos in Gaza, as security forces find it increasingly difficult to impose order.
Palestinians took control of the crossing last month, as part of a U.S.-brokered agreement with Israel.