Egyptian Border Guards Open Fire on Fleeing Gazans

As Israel Continues to Escalate Attacks, Desperate Gazans Look to Flee

by Jason Ditz, December 28, 2008

As the Israeli military’s attacks on Gaza move into their second day, there is no sign that the international calls for calm are getting any consideration. Indeed, with Israel advancing tanks to the border and calling up reservists the hundreds of Gazans killed in the first 24 hours of the onslaught may soon be a drop in the bucket.

Gaza’s civilian population doesn’t seem to be under any illusions that the promised Hamas revenge attacks are going to do them any good either, as Egypt is reporting at least five breaches of the border wall. And though Egypt has allowed ambulances through the official border crossing they seem unwilling to allow Gaza’s 1.5 million residents to find refuge from the warzone they now live in. Border guards are reported to have opened fire on the Gazans attempting to flee through the breeches.

As tens of thousands of Gazans mourn the loss of loved ones in yesterday’s attack, and brace for more losses in the days to come, Egypt’s violent reaction to those attempting to flee is a stark reminder of something the strip’s residents have been all too aware of: that they, like the residents of Israel’s border towns, are pawns in the Israeli government’s battle with Hamas. Unlike the Israeli residents, fleeing the scene while the belligerents kill one another simply isn’t an option.

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