Rafah border crossing opens for a day

August 25, 2006 14:29

Opening comes after weeks of closure following Shalit kidnapping.

rafah crossing, closed 298 ap

rafah crossing, closed 2. (photo credit: AP)

The Gaza-Egypt border opened for a day Friday, after weeks of closure following the kidnapping of IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit by Hamas operatives in Gaza. The brief opening of the Rafah terminal comes at the end of the summer travel season and will enable hundreds of stranded passengers to get to their destinations. The border is controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, with the help of EU monitors. Israel demanded the closure after the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier, to prevent him from being smuggled out of Gaza. By midday, some 1,400 passengers had crossed, said Maria Telleria, a spokeswoman for the observers. She said some 50,000 people are waiting in Gaza to cross to Egypt, among them students, business people and those seeking medical treatment in Cairo, she said. Several hundred people are waiting to enter Gaza. She said the Palestinians had requested the border be open three days in a row, but that no final decision has been made.

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