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Gaza crossing to reopen after protest

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A Palestinian police protest Friday prompted the departure of European Union monitors for safety reasons and the temporary closing of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, authorities said.

Meanwhile, gunmen attacked a Gaza police station where their relatives were being held and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian, said Palestinian security officials.

The Rafah crossing disturbance involved 100 policemen, who staged a sit-in within the terminal to protest the shooting death of a policeman Thursday.

According to Palestinian police sources, the officer was killed by the family of a drug dealer caught at the crossing terminal.

The spokesman for the EU monitors, Julio de la Guardia, said a confrontation broke out about 9:15 a.m., when a number of people approached the outer gates of the terminal and started quarreling with security personnel.

The 10 EU monitors left the terminal and waited at the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom border crossing for calm to be restored, he said.

Around 3 p.m. the EU announced the protest resolved, and that the monitors would return and the crossing would reopen.

The crossing is the first Palestinian-controlled international border and opened to the public in November. It was closed in September, as Israel withdrew its forces and settlers, ending its 38-year occupation of Gaza.

Intense U.S.-led negotiations led to the deal that put the border under Palestinian control.

Dozens of EU monitors will be at the crossing for at least the next 12 months, with the final say in any dispute over who and what are allowed to cross the border.

Israelis also monitor the crossing via closed-circuit television.

Rafah is also the area where Kate Burton, a 25-year-old British worker for the Palestinian rights group Al Mezan, was kidnapped with her parents while showing them around Wednesday afternoon. No progress has been reported in securing their release. (Full story)

CNN's Michal Zippori contributed to this report.

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