Last Update 22:51
Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Egypt border closed to Gazans leaving amid Palestinian feuding

AFP , Tuesday 8 Jan 2019
 Rafah border
Palestinian Hamas police officers sit at the closed entry to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (Photo: AP)
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The Egyptian border crossing was closed for Palestinians seeking to leave Gaza on Tuesday, a border official said, as infighting between Palestinian factions increases.

Gazans seeking to return from Egypt would still be allowed through but no one would be able to leave the Palestinian enclave, a spokesman for the Hamas-run authority in charge of the border crossing said.

"For now, it is just for one day, it is not clear if it will be extended," spokesman Wael Abu Omar told AFP.

The Palestinian Authority announced on Sunday it would withdraw its staff from the Rafah border crossing -- the only way for Gazans to leave the Palestinian enclave that bypasses Israel.

It blamed interference by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, following claims of widespread arrests of members of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party in the enclave.

Hamas has since resumed full control of the border.

The Palestinian Authority had retaken control of the border crossing in late 2017 as part of a reconciliation deal between Fatah, which dominates it, and Hamas.

The deal has since broken down and Abbas has taken a series of measures against Gaza.

Hamas won the last Palestinian parliamentary election in a landslide in 2006, triggering a dispute with Fatah.

The Islamists ousted Abbas's forces from Gaza the following year and the two have since been at loggerheads.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

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