"RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) ? Tens of thousands of Palestinians on foot and on donkey carts poured into Egypt from Gaza Wednesday after masked gunmen used land mines to blast down a seven-mile barrier dividing the border town of Rafah.
The border breach was a dramatic protest against the closure of the impoverished Palestinian territory imposed last week by Israel.
Jubilant men and women crossed unhindered by border controls over the toppled corrugated metal along sections of the barrier, 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. The border fence had divided the Rafah into two halves, one on the Egyptian side and one in southern Gazan."
""We don't want a humanitarian crisis, but the Hamas government who is responsible for the launching of rockets into Israel had to be weakened by all means," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday on a visit to Paris.
The rocket fire by Gaza militants has sent residents in Israeli border communities scrambling for shelter several times a day. The rockets have traumatized many area residents and killed 12 Israelis in six years. The attacks have persisted despite the closure."
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