Egypt reopens Gaza crossing for first time in months

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 May 2015

Rafah Crossing has been closed since March, preventing many Palestinians returning to Gaza

Rafah border
File Photo: Palestinians walk to the Rafah border on the Egyptian side to cross over to Gaza at Rafah city, some 350 km (217 miles) northeast of Cairo 10 August 2012 (Photo: AP)

Egypt is due to temporarily open its border crossing with the Palestinian Gaza Strip later this week after almost three months of closure, Egyptian state television has reported.

Rafah terminal, which is the only passage to the Palestinian territory not controlled by Israel, will open Tuesday and Wednesday.

The crossing will only be operating in one direction, for outbound traffic, allowing stranded Palestinians to return to the impoverished enclave. 

Egyptian authorities have kept the frontier mostly closed since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, citing security concerns in the Sinai Peninsula where troops are battling an Islamist insurgency.

Egypt tightened its grip on the Rafah crossing further since October 2014, following a suicide attack in neighbouring Sinai that killed 33 members of the Egyptian security forces.

Authorities accused Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, of involvement in terrorist activities in the Peninsula.

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

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