Egypt borders closed to Palestinians until Wednesday: Customs authority

Ahram Online, Saturday 18 Aug 2012

Amid attacks and raids in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt closes border at Rafah again during the Eid holiday; head of airport customs announces Palestinians without visas will not be allowed to enter Egypt via air until Wednesday

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 August 10, 2012. (Photo: AP)

Cairo Airport's authorities informed all airlines that any Palestinians flying to Egypt will not be granted access to the country because the Rafah border remains closed until Wednesday.

The border to the Gaza Strip was opened for three days ahead of the Eid El-Fitr holiday; however it will be closed again during the Islamic holiday.

General Magdi El-Seman, the head of the customs authority at Cairo airport, stated that Palestinians wishing to return back to Gaza will be received at the airport no earlier than Wednesday, when the border is scheduled to re-open.

Palestinians with a visa and who have permits to enter Egypt, he clarified, will be allowed access to the country while the border remains closed.

The Rafah border is used by hundreds of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip on a daily basis to carry out business and purchase food and other goods.

Regulations regarding Palestinians entering Egypt have been continuously changing since the attack by unknown assailants on 6 August that left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead and seven injured.

The attack left some Egyptian officials pointing fingers at the Gaza strip, as the assailants were believed to have entered Egypt from the Gaza strip.

Gaza's ruling Hamas stressed that it had nothing to do with the attack and offered assistance in protecting the borders.

Investigations are still ongoing since no one has yet been held accountable for the attack. The military has launched several raids in the Sinai Peninsula, reportedly killing 20 and arresting six suspects.


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