Egypt extends opening of Rafah border crossing

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Dec 2014

Egypt initially planned to open the border Sunday and Monday only

Egyptian authorities announced on Monday the extension of the opening of Rafah border crossing for an additional day, after initially planning to open the border Sunday and Monday only.

On Sunday and Monday, 995 passed through the crossing; 614 entered Egypt while 381 left Egypt to Gaza.

This is the second time that the crossing has opened to Palestinians in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip since one of the deadliest attacks on Egyptian soldiers took place in North Sinai in October.

On 24 October, militants killed 31 army personnel and injured at least 30 others in a single car bomb attack in North Sinai. The border has been closed since then, apart from a two-day period starting 26 November. 

Egyptian authorities have kept the crossing mostly closed since former president Mohamed Morsi's ouster in 2013, citing security concerns in the north of the peninsula where Islamist militants are active.

Egypt has accused Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, of involvement in terrorist activities in Sinai Peninsula.

Hamas leaders have distanced themselves from violence in Egypt and say they have no armed presence in areas outside Palestinian areas.

Egypt’s army has been facing a decade-long jihadist militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, with militant attacks increasing over the past year and expanding into Cairo and the Nile Delta, killing hundreds of army and police personnel.

The military has also announced killing and arresting hundreds of militants.

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