Egypt reopens border with Gaza

Reuters, Tuesday 22 Feb 2011

Rafah border reopens today after almost month to allow limited traffic in both directions

Egypt on Tuesday reopened its border with the Gaza Strip for limited Palestinian passage in both directions for the first time in almost a month, said the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls the territory.

Egypt closed the Rafah frontier crossing on 30 January following unrest that led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. On Friday, Egypt opened the border only to allow stranded Palestinians back into the blockaded coastal enclave.

"Egypt has decided to reopen the border and it will allow up to 300 people from the Gaza Strip to exit each day," said Hamas official Ghazi Hamad, who manages the Gaza side of the frontier.

Israel tightened a blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after militants abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid but it has eased restrictions on the import and export of civilian goods.

Rafah has been the only regularly open crossing for the Gaza Strip's 1.5 million Palestinians to the outside world.

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