For Egyptian troops, the breaching of the Gaza border wall last week was a security nightmare. But for Emran Labbad, and dozens of other Gazans, it was an opportunity to revive marriage plans that had long seemed doomed.
The 33-year-old film-maker fell in love with Hiba, a young Palestinian refugee, two years ago during a visit to Cairo. On receiving her father's permission to marry, he returned home to Gaza to prepare for the wedding. Shortly afterwards, the Rafah border crossing was sealed in response to the capture of an Israeli soldier -- and the couple's plans to marry were postponed.
Until last week, that is, when Hamas militants blew a hole in the corrugated iron wall and families from both sides streamed across for joyous reunions. Among the estimated 750,000 people who crossed the border in both directions was Hiba, 25, who finally made her way to Gaza, to the delight of her fiance.
During the couple's enforced separation, friends had advised him to look elsewhere for a wife, but he refused to give up hope.
The two kept in touch by telephone, and he contemplated smuggling Hiba through a network of underground tunnels connecting the two sides. Now they plan to marry in two weeks.
They are not alone. On Friday night, the streets of Gaza City were alive with the sound of wedding celebrations.
The wall, which had separated the couples, fell after an Israeli blockade of fuel and humanitarian aid into Gaza which lasted almost a week. Armed Egyptian soldiers watched helplessly as Palestinians flooded through the breached border. An attempt to close the gaps on Friday failed after Hamas used a bulldozer to open new breaches.
Yesterday, the Egyptian foreign minister said at least 36 security personnel have been taken to hospital, some critically injured, after clashes with Palestinians since the border was breached.
Palestinians and Egyptians continued to cross the border freely in their cars. But with Egypt under heavy pressure from the US and Israel to reseal the border, no-one in Gaza expects the free flow of people to last for long.