Saturday, 14 September 2013

In blockaded Gaza, making gas masks with jars and paper towels

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — When Gaza resident Nafez Nayef first heard that the United States might attack Syria — which Gazans fear will prompt a retaliatory chemical attack against neighboring Israel — he says he knew he had to get gas masks for his family right away. But because both Israel and Egypt limit the goods that enter the Gaza Strip, a small, isolated territory on the Mediterranean, only a handful of journalists and riot police has been able to obtain masks.

So Nayef took to YouTube to figure out how to make them — convinced it was better than nothing if Syrian rockets landed near or in Gazan territory.

There was one YouTube video he preferred: a three-minute tutorial uploaded by an al Qaeda fighter in Iraq.

“All you need is an empty, 2 liter soda bottle, paper towels, vinegar, a plastic jar and ground coal,” Nayef said. He uses the jar as the filter, stuffing it with paper towels soaked in vinegar to absorb the gas. Opening the body of the soda bottle, he attaches it to the jar to cover the face.

“All the materials I need are available in Gaza,” he said. But still, “everything is rare here and prices are skyrocketing.” more

Rafah crossing closed for fourth consecutive day

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities kept the Rafah crossing with Gaza closed for a fourth consecutive day on Saturday.

There have been frequent closures of the terminal in recent weeks due to political unrest in Egypt and violence in the Sinai peninsula.

The Palestinian Authority ambassador to Egypt, Barakat al-Farra, urged Gazan students enrolled in Egyptian universities to send their details to the embassy in Cairo so that arrangements can be made to obtain special permits to allow students to cross into Egypt.

The ambassador told Ma'an that his team will contact Egyptian universities to try to delay examinations for Palestinian students who are not able to cross into the country. more