Palestinian activists have punched another hole in the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, just as Egyptian forces were trying to seal other breaches made earlier in the week. As soon as the bulldozer was through, hundreds of Palestinians flooded into Egypt, anxious to get their hands on essential goods which are in short supply at home since Israel stepped up its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
When Palestinians first breached the barrier at Rafah on Wednesday, the Egyptian authorities allowed them through, turning a normally quiet road into a bustling street market. That all changed when Egypt decided to secure the border with barbed wire once again. Troops fired warning shots into the air, and deployed water cannon, broadcasting warnings over loudspeakers for the Palestinians to go home.
But since Israel tightened its embargo on the Gaza Strip, in response to daily attacks by Palestinian militants on Israeli territory, residents have spoken of a desperate lack of the basics at home. Little wonder perhaps that the availability of food and fuel over the border in Egypt is proving a powerful attraction.