Egypt closes Rafah crossing early

The Palestinian Embassy in the Egyptian capital did not say why the crossing was closed early.

February 22, 2018 17:39
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)

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing earlier than planned Wednesday evening, the PLO Embassy in Cairo said, according to the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa.

Rafah is the sole pedestrian passageway between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

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On Monday, Egypt announced Rafah would be open from early Wednesday morning until Saturday for Palestinians to enter and exit Gaza.

The PLO Embassy in the Egyptian capital did not say why the crossing was closed early.

Since the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi 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.

Some 30,000 Gazans including students, business people and ill persons are on a waiting list to travel from Gaza to Egypt through Rafah.

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 Erez crossing.

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

The IDF maintains that the restrictions are in place for security purposes.

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