Egyptian authorities announced on Saturday that they would open the Rafah border crossing into Gaza for three days in September, as a transit for Palestinian pilgrims to reach Saudi Arabia to perform their Hajj (pilgrimage) ritual.
“Egypt has informed the Palestinian side that it would open the crossing for Hajj pilgrims and to allow Gazans stranded in Egypt to return to the strip,” said an official, regarding the announcement.
Gaza’s Interior Ministry said earlier on Saturday that over 20,000 Gazans seeked to leave the area for humanitarian purposes, however the Egyptian authorities had opened the border crossing for only 15 days in total, this year.
Egypt maintains firm policies in terms of the Rafah border crossing, especially after the deposal of President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first publicly elected president, in 2013.
The African country keeps its border closed for the most part, claiming that militants may cross over to the Sinai Peninsula.
For the past 8 years, the Gaza Strip has been under a blockade from both Israel and Egypt, depriving its almost 2 million inhabitants of most basic necessities.