Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Palestinians Breach Egyptian Border

Egyptian riot police attempted to reseal the country's border with Gaza today as Palestinians continued to pour through a smashed wall into north Africa.

Armoured vehicles flying the Egyptian national flag began patrolling the border and police used batons to beat the hoods of private cars, pickup trucks and even the donkey carts of Palestinians visiting from Gaza.

Large shipments of cement, spare parts and fuel flowed from Egypt into Gaza across the open border.

Egyptian authorities allowed the arrival of Palestinians yesterday, but today's attempt to stem the flow appeared to be due to pressure from Israel and America to get a grip on the situation.
Israel is apparently still trying to get clarifications from Egypt on if and when it plans to close the border.

The border wall was blown open by Palestinians early on Wednesday morning after Israel tightened its cordon around Gaza in an attempt to halt rocket attacks from the territory, which have increased in recent months.

Gaza's ruling Hamas faction patrols the border with Egypt, though it was uncertain whether it had carried out the operation.

It is thought militants linked to the group cut through the metal wall with blow torches a week ago, weakening the structure so it would fall easily when yesterday's blasts went off.

The incident spawned a mini-industry as Egyptian drivers charged incoming Palestinians 20 Egyptian pounds (£1.80) for a ride to nearby towns. Palestinians were also seen returning to Gaza loaded with groceries.

Read it all here.

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