Egypt to partially open Rafah border crossing for pilgrims returning to Gaza

Ahram Online , Wednesday 7 Oct 2015

The border crossing will remain open, in one-direction only, for four days until Saturday 10 October

File photo: Palestinians walk toward the Rafah border crossing (Photo: AP)

Egyptian authorities partially opened the Gaza border crossing on Wednesday to allow Muslim pilgrims arriving from Saudi Arabia, to return to Gaza.

The border crossing will remain open in one-direction for four days until Saturday 10 October.

The Rafah border crossing was last opened in September to allow the pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, one of the five major pillars of Islam.

Egyptian authorities have, for the most part, kept the Rafah crossing closed since October 2014, following attacks by Islamist militants in Egypt's governorate of North Sinai which left over 30 security personnel dead.

The authorities have, on occasion, opened the crossing for an average of three-day periods, allowing those in need of medical care to travel to Egypt, and permitting other Palestinians to travel in either direction.

Cairo has accused the Islamist movement Hamas, the de facto rulers of the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip, of aiding militant groups in northern Sinai. Hamas has repeatedly denied the accusations.

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