It was still unclear today what caused Monday’s outbreak of gunfire and rock throwing between Libyans and Egyptians at the border . . .[restrict]crossing at Solloum on the International Coastal Road.
Traffic across the main crossing point between Libya and Egypt was halted as Libyans reportedly fired shots and exchanged volleys of rocks with Egyptians on the other side of the border. The confrontation also appears to have involved Libyans living in Solloum. No serious injuries were reported.
Since the Libya revolution, the border area has seen a marked increase in smuggling. Many of the locals on both sides have strong commercial and social ties.
The Egyptian side of the border, which is largely controlled by the Army, along with customs and immigration officials, saw more serious violence last July, when police and troops shot dead three Egyptians in a riot in which four police cars were torched.
The protests had been sparked by the earlier killing of a local smuggler. Gomaa Abdel-Salam was reportedly shot by police as he was trying to bring copper piping across the border from Libya.
The Egyptian authorities have also been coping with some 1,800 foreign workers of all nationalities, who fled the Libya fighting and were housed in a makeshift camp at Solloum, because they had no means to travel to their home countries. There were protests at poor conditions and also uneasy relations with the locals. However by last month the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR had organised the resettlement of some 1,400 individuals. [/restrict]