GAZA - Egypt opened its border with Gaza for the first time in three months on Wednesday, giving Palestinians a two-day respite from a closure stemming from friction between Cairo and the enclave's Islamist rulers.
Egypt's shuttering of Rafah and destruction of cross-border smuggling tunnels, along with tight restrictions imposed by Israel along its own frontier with Gaza, have deepened economic misery for many of the 1.9 million Palestinians in the enclave.
Egypt's military-backed government has kept its border with the Gaza Strip largely closed since Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted as president three years ago.
Egyptian officials view Gaza's governing Hamas group as a threat, accusing it of supporting an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai peninsula bordering the Palestinian territory. Hamas denies the allegation.
Some 30,000 Gazans are on a waiting list to cross at Rafah. Only a few thousand, including patients, students and holders of residency permits in third countries, were likely to do so on Wednesday and Thursday before it closes again.
"I have been waiting for several months to get a chance to have advanced cancer checks in Cairo," said Umm Ahmed, a 55-year-old Gaza resident, urging Egypt's president to reopen the Rafah crossing for good because "we are brothers, not enemies."