Egypt closes Rafah crossing for Eid holiday

MENA, Thursday 8 Aug 2013

Egyptian authorities will reopen the Egypt-Gaza crossing on Monday, after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday

rafah
Rafah border (Photo: Reuters)

The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was closed by Egyptian authorities on Thursday for the Eid Al-Fitr Islamic holiday, and will be re-opened on Monday.

Since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi by a new military-backed Egyptian government on 3 July, heavy restrictions have been put in place at the vital crossing.

With rising violence in Sinai, the crossing with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has at times been closed completely.

A recent decision to reduce working hours at the border crossing from nine hours to four has led to a decrease in the number of Palestinians crossing per day to around 150.

Before the new restrictions, the number of people crossing from Gaza was almost 1,200 per day, according to a June statement by Ghazy Hamad, deputy minister of foreign affairs for the Hamas government.

Last Thursday, Hamas’ foreign ministry warned of a possible humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip caused by "the closure of the Rafah crossing" and urged Egypt to reopen the crossing to all goods and passengers travelling to the Strip.

Since Morsi’s ouster, the army has also increased its crackdown on tunnels between the Egypt-Gaza border.

On 23 July, a UN official said that almost 80 percent of tunnels used to smuggle goods and arms into the Gaza Strip from Egypt are "no longer functioning" due to the recent campaign. 

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