Egypt to open Rafah crossing into Gaza for three days

Ahram Online , Friday 5 May 2017

A member of the Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas stands guard at the entrance of Rafah border crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip May 19, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt will open its border crossing with Gaza for three days starting Saturday, state news agency MENA reported.

The Rafah crossing will only be opened in one direction -- for Palestinians stranded outside Gaza to return home, MENA added.

Egypt has kept its border with the Gaza Strip largely closed over security concerns following the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi almost four years ago.

The crossing in northern Sinai is the only gateway for 1.8 million Palestinians living in Israeli-besieged Gaza to enter and exit the enclave. It is the only terminal not controlled by Israel.

Gaza has been under Israeli blockade since 2006. Cairo periodically opens the border to allow civilians with foreign passports, Palestinian students, and those with medical needs to travel back and forth.

The crossing was last opened temporarily in March.

The border openings in recent months come amid signs of improving ties between Cairo and Gaza's governing group Hamas.

A senior Hamas delegation visited Cairo in late January. Hamas leader Mahmoud El-Zahar said at the time that Palestinian and Egyptian officials had reached a border control agreement.

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