The opening of Rafah border between Palestine and Egypt has been extended to five days after a phone-call between the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Egyptian authorities as the first asked for extension or humanitarian reasons, according to the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo.
Egyptian authorities opened on Saturday the Rafah crossing for travel in both directions for three days only, this is the first time in several months the border crossing has been opened for travel from Gaza into Sinai. The opening of the border is for humanitarian reasons, and it will remain open till Wednesday.
The crossing has been opened several times from the Sinai to the Gaza strip, and hundreds of Palestinians stuck on the Egyptian side went home safely in May.
Those needing humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip are entering Rafah while stranded Egyptians and Palestinians on both sides of the border are crossing over.
Gaza’s Interior Minister, Maher Abu Sabha, said dozens of people requiring humanitarian assistance began travelling to Egypt in the morning while citizens stranded on the Egyptian side returned to their homes.
Abu Sabha had previously called on Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border for longer periods of time to allow over 15,000 people seeking humanitarian assistance and over 3,000 patients requiring medical treatment into Egypt.
The Gaza Strip has seen the worst casualties since 2009 in terms of people dying due to 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 president Mohamed Morsi in 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 open for humanitarian cases in the future.