Thousands of Palestinians stranded as Rafah border remains closed

MENA and Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 May 2013

At least seven thousand Palestinians are stranded at Rafah border crossing due to protest by Egyptian guards

Egyptian border policemen protesting the kidnapping of their colleagues last week, and others are seen at the closed Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza strip, in Rafah, Egypt, Monday, May 20, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Ghazi Hamad, deputy foreign minister in Gaza, announced on Tuesday that at least seven thousand Palestinians are unable to cross the border between Egypt and Gaza due to a protest by Egyptian guards.

The problem started after Egyptian guards blocked the Rafah border crossing on Friday to protest the kidnapping of seven security personnel the day before.

“We’re in constant communication with the Egyptian authorities to resolve the crisis. However, the Egyptian officers insist on keeping it closed,” Hamad said in a press statement on Tuesday.

It is vital that the border is opened because it is used by patients, children and students, Hamad added.

The Hamas government tightened security on its borders after the kidnapping, which they described as “an act of cowardice.”

On Sunday, Egyptian security forces also closed the Al-Ouga border crossing with Israel in solidarity with the Rafah protest. The strike ended on Monday and the crossing re-opened.

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