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Egypt opens border crossing with Rafah in both directions Wednesday

Ahram Online , Wednesday 16 Aug 2017
Rafah border
A Palestinian woman stands by a fence as she waits for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 16, 2017 Reuters
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Egypt will open the border crossing with the Gaza Strip in both directions for two days starting Wednesday, the Palestinian interior ministry said on its official website on Tuesday.

The Rafah crossing will be open in both directions for the first time in almost six months.

Since March, the crossing has only been opened occasionally, to allow Palestinians stranded outside Gaza to return home.

The crossing in the border Sinai Peninsula is the major gateway to the outside world for 1.8 million Palestinians living in Israeli-besieged Gaza, as it is the only terminal not controlled by Israel.

Gaza has been under Israeli blockade since 2006.

Egypt has kept the border largely closed over security concerns following the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi almost four years ago.

Earlier this week, Egyptian authorities reopened the border to allow hundreds of Gazans with Saudi visas to cross to Egypt on their way to Mecca for the hajj pilgrimage.

The border openings in recent months come amid signs of improving ties between Cairo and Gaza's governing group Hamas.

A senior Hamas delegation visited Cairo in late January. Hamas leader Mahmoud El-Zahar said at the time that Palestinian and Egyptian officials had reached a border control agreement. 

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