Egypt opens Gaza’s Rafah border for two days

Egypt opens Gaza’s Rafah border crossing during weekend for limited number of people

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Palestinians await permission to enter Egypt as they gather at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on February 13, 2016

A Palestinian authority source said on Saturday that Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing, which connects the Gaza Strip to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for two days in both directions.

The crossing will be open to a limited number of Palestinian; including, medical patients, university students and Gazans bearing foreign passport, a Palestinian authority told Anadolu Agency.

A number of Palestinians, who have been stranded on the Egyptian side would also be allowed back into the Gaza Strip, the source added.

Ismail Haniyeh, a leading member of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, called on Egypt to open the border on a "permanent basis."

A Palestinian woman reacts as she waits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip on February 13, 2016

Egypt and Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas won the election of 2006 in Gaza and gained power after defeating forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

Egypt opened the Rafah crossing intermittently. It holds the border tightly sealed for the most part, since Abdel Fattah al Sisi came to power with a military coup in 2013.

According to the Gaza Interior Ministry data, Egypt opened the crossing only for 21 days throughout 2015, but to limited traffic.

Rafah is the only border that is not under Israeli control linking Gaza’s 1.8 million residents to the outside world.

Israel defends the blockade, saying it is needed to prevent Hamas from importing weapons.

TRTWorld and agencies