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Hamas denies reports that Egypt has restored restrictions on Rafah crossing

The slow passage of travellers across the border is attributed to limited capacity rather than reported international pressure on the Egyptian government

Saleh Naami , Thursday 2 Jun 2011
Rafah border crossing
A Palestinian man waits to cross to Egypt at the Rafah border crossing, southern Gaza Strip (Photo: AP)
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Since opening the Rafah border crossing permanently, Egyptian authorities have only allowed 400 travellers to enter and exit each day, according to the director general of the Hamas border authority in Gaza, Hatem Awideh.

He denied that the Egyptian government has restored restrictions at Rafah, adding that the current border crossing administration does not have the capacity to deal with the large number of travellers who want to enter either Gaza or Egypt every day.

“The Egyptian government does not use the blacklist that State Security under Mubarak’s regime used to bar some Palestinians from entering Egypt due to security concerns,” Awideh said.

In the meantime, the Egyptian ambassador to Ramallah, Yasser Osman, said on Thursday it is a matter of time before the flow of travellers between Gaza and Egypt is normalised.

“What happened in the last few days were only administrative and technical problems,” Osman said.

He refuted claims made in the media that international pressures on Egypt to close Rafah have come to bear. Media reports had alleged that the US administration and Israeli government have pushed Egypt to restore restrictions on the Rafah crossing.

“Only the Egyptian interests and our efforts to break the siege on Gaza would be behind any decision we would take on the border issue,” Osman added

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