Clashes on Egypt's border that left at least one Egyptian soldier dead and dozens of Palestinians hurt are related to the construction of an Egyptian underground barrier, Hamas admitted Wednesday.
Ehab Ghussein, the spokesman for Gaza's Interior Minister, linked the day's events to Egypt's construction of the underground barrier along its border with Gaza. He called the protest "a natural reaction to the iron wall and against the policy of cutting the veins of life that is taking place there."
Ghussein said 35 Palestinians were injured, including five who are brain dead. His tally could not be reconciled with that of local doctors.
Cry of the hungry
Meanwhile, Hamas parliamentarian Mushir al Masri said that the "iron fence would not be able to defeat the Palestinian people, just like Operation Cast Lead did not defeat us." He also stressed that Hamas will continue to view Israel as its main enemy, noting that "the occupation is dangerous for Egyptian security just like for Palestinian and Arab security.
Another Hamas member, Fauzi Barhoum, said that Wednesday's protests marked "the cry of the hungry."
"The protestors sought to make themselves heard so their voice reaches decision-makers in Egypt, in the hopes they will change their decision regarding the fence and allow international peace activists to come in," he said.
Earlier, Hamas has asked Egyptian officials to look into the conduct of Egyptian troops, while Hamas' media outlets continue to slam the conduct of Egypt's forces. Meanwhile, border area residents reported hearing occasional fire throughout the evening.