Crush at Rafah border crossing: One Palestinian dead, several wounded
A crush of 5,000 Palestinians trying to get through the newly opened Rafah border crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egypt on Thursday left an elderly man dead and seven people wounded, Palestinian medics said.
According to the AP, the Palestinians came to the crossing in the morning hoping to cross into Egypt. The crowd quickly became chaotic, witnesses said, and an elderly man on his way to a medical checkup in Egypt died.
An eyewitness said Palestinian security personnel rapidly lost control of the crowd, which started pushing toward the terminal and throwing stones at the entrance gate. Security officers fired in the air, he said. Medics said two of the injured were hit by gunfire.
Jose Vericat, a spokesman for the European Union observers in charge of the crossing, said officials temporarily closed the terminal after the crush. "It was impossible for the Palestinian security personnel to keep control," Vericat said.
According to the EU observers, the Rafah crossing has only been open less than a fifth of the time since June 2006. The fact that the crossing is usually closed leads to massive crowds on the rare occasions it opens.