Egypt’s state-run media reports that the Rafah crossing will remain open to both passengers and humanitarian aid.
Egyptian authorities will reopen the Rafah border crossing linking the blockaded Gaza Strip to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the administrators of the border gate in Gaza said Tuesday, amid conflicting claims over whether it had been shut.
“The Egyptian authorities informed us that, as of Tuesday, the crossing would remain closed indefinitely,” officials on the Palestinian side of the crossing (which is currently run by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority) said in a statement.
The statement offered no information as to when the crossing would be reopened to traffic.
Later Tuesday, however, Egyptian authorities denied reports that the border crossing had been shut.
According to reports in Egypt’s state-run media, the Rafah crossing remains open to both passengers and humanitarian aid.
Also on Tuesday, Israel closed its Kerem Shalom border crossing, Gaza’s only functioning commercial crossing, to all goods except food and medicine, according to Palestinian officials.
Last week, Israel imposed a raft of fresh sanctions on the blockaded Gaza Strip, including restrictions on the movement of goods and a reduction of the area off Gaza’s coast in which Palestinian fishermen are allowed to ply their trade.
According to the Israeli army, the moves came in retaliation for recent incendiary kite and balloon attacks by Palestinian activists near the Gaza-Israel security fence.
In recent weeks, Palestinian activists in Gaza have been flying flaming kites and balloons over Israeli territory as part of ongoing rallies along the security fence.
Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 130 Palestinian protesters have been martyred, and thousands more injured, by Israeli army gunfire.
Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal territory’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of basic commodities.