The tunnel of love: Egyptian bride smuggled into Gaza via undergound passageway to marry her Palestinian groom

March 25, 2013 5:48 pm 0 comments Views: 2818

It was a very modern day version of Romeo and Juliet.

Young lovers Emad al-Malalha, 21, and Manal Abu Shanar, 17, were determined to be wed.

The only problem was he is Palestinian and lives in the Gaza Strip and she is Egyptian and border authorities refused to give her a permit to cross the border.

Young lovers: Emad al-Malalha and Manal Abu Shanar made use of the smuggling tunnels between Israel and Egypt

Determined: The couple walked almost half a mile in virtual darkness in their wedding clothes Determined: The couple walked almost half a mile in virtual darkness in their wedding clothes

 

Egyptian border authorities had refused to give Manal Abu Shanar a permit to enter GazaEgyptian border authorities had refused to give Manal Abu Shanar a permit to enter Gaza

Courtship: The couple have been engaged for six months but only communicated via telephoneCourtship: The couple have been engaged for six months but only communicated via telephone

Undeterred, the couple, who had been engaged for six months and forced to communicate only via telephone, hatched a plan.

Both wearing their white wedding outfits, Manal descended into the darkness and met Emad in one of the many smuggling tunnels which still link Gaza with Egypt.

After walking hand in hand for almost half a mile, they emerged into the sunlight to be greeted by family and friends before being driven straight to a wedding hall for their ceremony and a new life together.

The border between Gaza and Egypt has been closed since 1994 and the present barrier consists of concrete and steel walls and is over eight metres high and equipped with electronic sensors.

Prior to the Israeli withdrawal in mid-2005, Rafah was an area of frequent clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants.

Success: Relatives and friends greet the couple as they emerge into GazaSuccess: Relatives and friends greet the couple as they emerge into Gaza

 

Happy ending: The couple went straight off to a wedding hall to tie the knotHappy ending: The couple went straight off to a wedding hall to tie the knot

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