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The deal raised controversy at home, with some in the Egyptian opposition saying the gas was being sold at below-market rates. Others resent Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and say Egypt shouldn’t supply energy to Israel.

“The deal (to sell gas) was a blow to the pride of Egyptians and a betrayal,” former diplomat Ibrahim Yousri told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Yousri led a high court challenge to try to halt Egypt’s sale of gas to Israel. Although the high court ruled in his favor in February 2010, the ruling was widely ignored by the government.

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Additional reporting by Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan; Ian Deitch in Jerusalem; Diaa Hadid and Sarah El Deeb in Cairo; and Tamer Ziara in Rafah, Gaza Strip.