Egypt's Rafah crossing opens for two days for Palestinian pilgrims

Ahram Online , Sunday 20 Apr 2014

Border between Egypt and Gaza, closed since March, reopens for Palestinians pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia

Egyptian officials have opened the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt for two days to accommodate Palestinian pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

Pilgrims who had completed their trip to the holy Islamic sites in the Gulf kingdom began arriving at Cairo International Airport on Sunday, from where they were then transferred by bus back to Gaza.

Two weeks ago, the Rafah crossing was opened for three days to let the pilgrims enter Egypt and proceed to Cairo, where they were booked on four flights to Saudi Arabia with EgyptAir, the official airline of Egypt.

The Rafah border is the only one with Hamas-run Gaza that is not controlled by Israel.

The relationship between Egyptian authorities and Hamas, an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has soured since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Egyptian officials have accused Hamas of providing support to Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula since Morsi's ouster. Hamas has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Egypt has also launched a campaign to destroy tunnels providing vital gas and food supplies to 1.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli siege since 2007.

The Rafah crossing has remained indefinitely closed since March.

Short link: