Why was it even legal for Egypt to have a wall on its border with Gaza in the first place? Why wasn’t this the subject of international protests?
“Exclusive: Hamas ‘spent months cutting through Gaza wall in secret operation,'” by James Hider for the Times (thanks to all who sent this in):
As tens of thousands of Palestinians clambered back and forth between the Gaza strip and Egypt today, details emerged of the audacious operation that brought down a hated border wall and handed the Islamist group Hamas what might be its greatest propaganda coup.
Hamas, which took control of the coastal territory last June after a stand-off with Fatah, has denied that its men set off the explosions that brought down as much as two-thirds of the 12-km wall in the early hours.
But a Hamas border guard interviewed by The Times at the border today admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches.
That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations after midnight last night the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man’s land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt.
The guard, Lieutenant Abu Usama of the Palestinian National Security, said of the cutting operation: “I’ve seen this happening over the last few months. It happened in the daytime but was covered up so that nobody would see.”
Asked whether he had reported it to the government, he replied: “It was the government that was doing this. Who would I report it to?”
Abu Usama, who normally works from a small guard cabin in no-man’s land, added: “Last night we were told to keep away from the wall. We were ordered to stay away because they were going to break the blockade.”
The skill of the Hamas demolition operation was clear to see along the border today, although The Times could not visit the entire length of the border. Where the charges had been laid, the wall was heavily damaged. Elsewhere it appeared to be clearly cut.
The destruction of the wall prompted hundreds of thousands to cross into Egypt — and Egyptian border guards did not try to stem the tide of humanity.