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'Like coming out of a maximum security prison': what it's like to cross into Gaza

The Israeli border crossing into Gaza at Erez
The Israeli border crossing into Gaza at Erez
Thomas Imo/Photothek via Getty Images

NBC News reporter Ayman Mohyeldin is in Gaza, where three days of Israeli air strikes have killed over 100 Palestinians. Gaza-based militant groups, including the terrorist group Hamas, which rules over the territory, have been firing hundreds of rockets into Israel.

Mohyeldin posted this video showing what it was like to cross into Gaza from the Israeli-controlled checkpoint at Erez. Since 2006, when Gazans elected Hamas into power, Israel has put the territory under military bloackade and sharply restricted border crossings, driving up unemployment and the prices of basic goods there.

Even just this three-minute video of crossing at Erez, which Mohyeldin says is "like coming out of a maximum security prison," conveys the Gazans' experience of being locked-in by the blockade — and unable to evade the ever-recurring tit-for-tat violence of Palestinian rockets out and Israeli air strikes in.

"You can understand why some human rights activists call Gaza the world's largest outdoor prison," Mohyeldin says, pushing his equipment through the long, fenced-in walkway out of Erez.

"One of the major complaints and frustrations among many people is that this is a form of collective punishment," he says of the blockade, which includes the Egyptian government blocking off Gaza's border with Egypt. "You have 1.7 million people in this territory now being bombarded, with really no way out."