Egypt to temporarily open Rafah border crossing

Egypt last opened the crossing more than two weeks ago.

April 11, 2018 16:01
1 minute read.
A girl sleeps as she waits with her family to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing

A girl sleeps on a suitcase as she waits with her family for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)

Egypt will open the Rafah crossing temporarily for Palestinians to enter and exit the Gaza Strip, the PLO Embassy in Cairo announced on Wednesday.

Egyptian authorities last opened Rafah, the sole pedestrian passageway between Gaza and Egypt, more than two weeks ago.

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Cairo decided to open the crossing from Thursday until Saturday, the embassy in Cairo announced, according to the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa.

Since Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was removed from office in July 2013, Cairo has seldom opened Rafah.

The crossing was open for 42 days in 2016 and for 36 days in 2017, according to Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, an Israeli NGO that tracks human rights issues related to Gaza.

Tens of thousands of Gazans including students, business people and ill persons are on a waiting list to travel to Egypt through Rafah, Gisha says.

Palestinian officials have said Egypt frequently keeps the crossing closed because of the unstable security situation in the Sinai Peninsula.

Israel also controls a pedestrian crossing with Gaza, the northern Erez crossing.

While the country allows people to pass through it daily, it heavily limits the number of people who have access to it.

The IDF holds that its restrictions on movement of people through Erez are in place for security purposes.

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