Rafah border crossing opens for travel in both directions

Egypt’s Rafah border crossing opens again for travel in both directions, allowing people to pass out of the blockaded and devastated Gaza Strip

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing for travel in both directions on Tuesday to allow humanitarian cases to travel for immediate medical help.

Gaza’s interior minister, Maher Abu Sabha, told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency that dozens of humanitarian cases on Tuesday morning began to leave Gaza. There was also an influx of stranded Palestinians into Gaza from the Egyptian side.

Abu Sabha hopes Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah crossing permanently, adding that 12,000 Palestinian citizens are still waiting to be allowed to travel, most of them patients.

Egyptian authorities opened the crossing in both directions on Saturday, June 13, for just one week, allowing 3,819 citizens to travel from Gaza to the Sinai peninsula.

The Rafah crossing is dedicated for individuals only, and is currently the only way out of the Gaza Strip for its 1.8 million residents.

The Gaza Strip has seen the worst casualties since 2009 in terms of people dying due to the dire humanitarian situation caused by the blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel, and since the beginning of 2015 the crossing has been open for only five days in total.

The Rafah border crossing is the main road linking the Egyptian border town of Rafah to the Palestinian Gaza Strip. It has been mostly closed since the overthrow of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, as a result of subsequent militant attacks on security and military headquarters in the bordering Sinai Peninsula.

Egyptian authorities have confirmed that the Rafah crossing will be opened again for humanitarian cases in the future.

TRTWorld and agencies