Egypt closes Gaza border amid security concerns

AP and MENA, Friday 5 Jul 2013

After an attack on Egyptian security forces in Sinai, authorities decide to close the Rafah crossing 'indefinitely'

Egyptian army soldiers stand guard on the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 5, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Maher Abu Sabha, head of the border crossings authority in the Hamas-controlled Gaza government, said that he received a notification from Egypt on the closure of Rafah crossing, Egypt' state-run news agency MENA reported on Friday.

"The decision came in response to the unstable security situation in Rafah and Sheikh. Zewaid; Egypt told us that it will last until further notice," he said.

Abu Sabha added that the pace of movement through the Rafah crossing, a vital lifeline for almost 1.8 million people in Gaza, has been "very slow".

However, 8 buses had transferred more than 400 people from Gaza on Thursday via the crossing.   

An Egyptian official says the country's border crossing with Gaza Strip in northern Sinai has been closed indefinitely, citing security concerns.

The decision comes hours after suspected Islamic militants attacked four sites in northern Sinai, targeting two military checkpoints, a police station and el-Arish airport, where military aircraft are stationed.

The military and security forces responded to the attacks. One soldier was killed and three were wounded.

Gen. Sami el-Metwali said Rafah passage was shut down on Friday. He didn't say when it would be reopened. Some 200 Palestinians were turned back to the Gaza Strip after the order.

The clashes came two days after the military's ouster of President Islamist Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Some Islamist elements have pledged to fight the military's move.

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