Palestinian ambassador working to reopen Rafah border: Fatah

Ahram Online, Sunday 22 Sep 2013

Border between Egypt and Gaza Strip has been closed since 15 August – except for occasional emergencies – due to ongoing unrest in Sinai Peninsula

Egyptian Army soldiers guard the gates
Egyptian Army soldiers guard the gates (Photo: Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority’s Ambassador to Egypt, Barakat Al-Farra, is “taking all possible measures” to resolve the Rafah border crisis, Palestinian movement Fatah said on Sunday.

On 15 August, Egypt closed "indefinitely" the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip, ruled by Islamist movement Hamas, citing security fears due to unrest following the removal of president Mohamed Morsi. Since then, Egyptian authorities have been opening the crossing occasionally for “emergencies,” most recently on Thursday.

In an official statement Fatah said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was also working closely with Al-Farra to resolve the situation. 

The movement blamed Hamas for the “suffering” of 1.7 million Palestinians in the coastal enclave of Gaza, under Israeli blockade, where the Rafah crossing is the only door to the outside world.  

Tensions have been on the rise between the Egyptian government and Hamas – an offshoot of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood – since the Islamist president was ousted by the army on 3 July amid mass protests against his one-year rule.

Egyptian army spokesperson Ahmed Ali stated last week that the military had confiscated munitions in North Sinai bearing the stamp of Ezzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military arm. He also said there was “cooperation between armed, terrorist organisations [in Sinai] and their counterparts in the Gaza Strip.”

Hamas denied these claims, describing them as “lies and fabrications.”

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