Egyptian border guards wielding clubs and electric prods directed throngs of Palestinians as they crossed into Egypt for a second day Thursday but made little attempt to block the flow from Gaza.
Still, Egyptian officials warned the Gazans’ freedom, shopping and visiting relatives will soon come to an end with the resealing of the border.
For the second day in a row, scenes of frenzy, chaos and joy played out at the Gaza-Egypt border. Guards channeled crowds through a handful of openings, where Palestinians pushed, shouted and jostled their way into Egypt, braving a gauntlet of cows, camels, fertilizer, food and truckloads of cement.
The scene did not play out without violence: Israeli aircraft killed four Hamas militants overnight in missile strikes around the border town of Rafah, Israeli and Palestinian officials said today.
Two Hamas militiamen were killed as they drove near the shattered border fence with Egypt, and two more were killed while driving in Rafah, Palestinian security officials said. The Israeli military described both strikes as being against terrorists.
Wellington, New Zealand
Whaling fleet breaks agreement
Japan’s whaling fleet was heading toward New Zealand-controlled waters in Antarctica, in breach of an agreement that it would remain in Australian waters during this year’s whale hunt, a minister said today.
Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said the Japanese fleet was photographed by a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion airplane during a routine surveillance flight for illegal fishers in the southern oceans.
Chadwick said the Japanese whalers were heading toward the Ross Sea, an area for which New Zealand has international search and rescue responsibility.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Motorcyclists steal woman’s hair
Two men on a motorcycle grabbed a woman as she walked to church, pulled out a machete and cut off the waist-length hair she had been growing for two decades, police in Brazil said Thursday.
The woman, a homemaker whose name was not released, told police she was walking to church when she was assaulted late Tuesday, police officer Antonio Williams da Silva said by telephone from the northeastern city of Aracaju.
Da Silva said the woman told authorities she hadn’t cut her hair for 20 years.
“It must have been nearly a meter and half long,” da Silva said.
The robbers cut the woman’s hair above her shoulders, he said, apparently with the idea of selling it to be fashioned into a wig.
“A hairpiece that size could cost you as much” as $550, da Silva said.
The woman was not injured, but her assailants could be charged with battery if caught.