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Palestinians pour into Egypt after Rafah border wall destroyed
by Ma'an News Agency (Palestine)
Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2008 7:56 AM
Gaza – Ma'an – Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been crossing into Egypt on Wendesday after Palestinian fighters destroyed a portion of the border wall between Egypt and the Gaza Strip using explosives.
Egyptian security forces stood by and did not confront the Palestinians.

Ma'an's reporter said that the Gazans began stocking up on supplies from Egyptian stores in the town of Al-Arish. Some bought cement at 27 Egyptian pounds per sack. A sack of the same size costs 150 NIS, or more than five times the price in Egypt. At times, even the cement needed to make tombs for the dead has been scarce in the Gaza Strip.

Gazan merchants sent trucks to import medicine and other goods.

Gazans also bought clothes which have become scarce in Gaza's markets after eight months of Israeli-imposed siege.

A sudden influx of tobacco from Egypt resulted in a drop in the price of a pack of cigarettes. From 20 NIS down to 10 NIS.

Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side of the border for weeks or months streamed back into the Gaza Strip, having found a sudden solution to their plight.

On Tuesday, dozens were injured when Egyptian riot police blocked a surging crowd of Palestinian women from rushing through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

Food, medicine, fuel, and other basic necessities had grown scare in the Gaza Strip after months of sanctions and a total blockade that began on Friday.

- Related Stories:

Gazans flood through Egypt Borders - BBC News
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Palestinians blow up border wall, flood into Egypt - Reuters International
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Palestinians flood into Egypt after Gaza wall blasts - Agence France-Presse
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Gazans flood into Egypt - - English
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§The Wall Comes Tumbling Down
by Ma'an News Agency (Palestine) Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2008 7:56 AM
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have poured into Egypt from Gaza, after militants blew holes in the border wall. Egypt had been under pressure to let Palestinians cross since Israel sealed Gaza's crossing points last week. (BBC)
§The Wall Comes Tumbling Down
by Ma'an News Agency (Palestine) Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2008 7:56 AM
Some reports say two-thirds of the border wall were destroyed following explosions during the night. (BBC)
§The Wall Comes Tumbling Down
by Ma'an News Agency (Palestine) Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2008 7:56 AM
They walked unhindered over the toppled metal plates that made up the wall. (BBC)
by Makho
Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2008 11:07 AM
The United States expressed concern Wednesday about tens of thousands of Palestinians pouring into Egypt from the Gaza Strip across a broken security barrier at the border of the small territory run by Hamas militants.

The Palestinian exodus was a protest against the closure of the impoverished Palestinian territory imposed last week by Israel. Israel controls most of Gaza's land borders, while Egypt shares a small border with the territory around the market town of Rafah. Egypt generally keeps its border with Gaza under tight control, although Israel accuses Egypt of looking the other way when it comes to smuggling operations.

The border crossings put Israel and the United States in an awkward spot as President Bush pushes new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Egypt is one of only two Arab states to make peace with Israel, and holds a historic role as Arab host and broker for peace talks.

Israel has come under international criticism for sealing off Gaza as a pressure tactic against Hamas militants who took over the strip in June, but is reluctant to criticize Egypt for allowing Palestinians free passage Wednesday.

"The Palestinians living in Gaza are living under chaos because of Hamas, and the blame has to be placed fully at their feet," White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday.

Jubilant men and women crossed unhindered over the toppled corrugated metal along sections of the barrier in Rafah, carrying goats, chickens and crates of Coca-Cola. Some brought back televisions, car tires and cigarettes and one man even bought a motorcycle. Vendors sold soft drinks and baked goods to the crowds.

They were stocking up on goods made scarce by the Israeli blockade and within hours, shops on the Egyptian side of Rafah had run out of stock.