Egypt to open Rafah border crossing for 2 days upon Abbas request

Ahram Online , Tuesday 10 May 2016

The Rafah border crossing has mostly been closed since 2014 after a militant attack killed 30 Egyptian security personnel

Rafah Border
File Photo: Palestinians crossing through the Rafah Border from Egypt (Photo: AP)

Egypt will open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza in both directions on Wednesday and Thursday, Palestine's embassy in Cairo said.

According to a Tuesday statement, the decision comes in response to a request by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following a Monday meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo.

The two leaders focused on peace talk efforts, with El-Sisi stressing that Egypt will continue to work to establish a Palestinian state in accord with the 1967 borders. 

The Palestinian embassy said the crossing would be opened in both directions to allow for the passage of people for humanitarian reasons as well as for Palestinians who hold residency holders.

The embassy expressed its deepest thanks to El-Sisi and the relevant Egyptian authorities for the step.

The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai is the only way for 1.8 million Palestinians who live under Israeli siege in Gaza to enter and exit the strip.

Egypt has occasionally opened the crossing, usually for around three-day periods, predominantly to allow those in need of medical care to travel to Egypt but also for other Palestinians especially students studying abroad to move in either direction.

The most recent opening of the border was in February 2016.

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

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