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  US Troops 'Monitoring Rafah Crossing'

By Press TV

January 07, 2009 "
Press TV" --- US troops are helping Egypt prevent "arms smuggling" from tunnels in the Rafah border-crossing, as Israel continues its attacks on Gaza.

NBC anchorwoman and chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell said Sunday that US military officers from the Corps of Engineers had been stationed on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing in order to prevent "arms smuggling from illegal tunnels" by Palestinian fighters.

“ And there are US Army Corps of Engineer personnel on the ground right now on the Egypt side looking at the tunnels to see how Egypt could be reassured that there won't be continued smuggling through on that," she said on Meet the Press

The US and Israel say the tunnels are used for smuggling arms into the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes have bombing the Rafah border to destroy the tunnels.

Tunnels between the two sides of the Rafah border crossing have been almost the only way for Gazans to obtain food and medicine after Israel besieged the costal strip in mid-2007, after Hamas took control of the region.

Meanwhile, Israel pushes forward with its offensive on the Gaza Strip.

At least 551 Palestinians have lost their lives, and some 2,790 others are reported wounded -- most of whom are civilians.

Despite international calls for an immediate halt to the ongoing crisis in Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said earlier Monday that the ground incursion would be continued until the objectives are reached.

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