Egypt temporarily reopens Rafah border crossing

Ahram Online , Monday 9 Mar 2015

This is the fourth time Egypt has opened the crossing since October

rafah border
An Egyptian soldier keeps watch at the closed Rafah border crossing, between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt November 6, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt reopened the Rafah-Gaza border crossing on Monday, the fourth time since a deadly attack against security forces in October.

Egyptian authorities are expected to keep the crossing open through Tuesday to allow Palestinians stranded on both sides to pass, in addition to aid for the people of Gaza.

Palestinians who travel through Rafah are mostly students heading to universities in Egypt or beyond, and those seeking medical treatment.

The crossing is the doorway to the world for Gaza that has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.

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 the Sinai Peninsula.

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

Egypt completely shut the Rafah crossing after a militant attack in North Sinai in October 2014 killed 30 soldiers, only opening it three times since then.

The army has also created a wide buffer zone along the border with Gaza aimed at preventing infiltration by militants.

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