Egypt opens Rafah crossing into Gaza in sign of easing tensions

By REUTERS
June 13, 2015 12:47

 
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Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Saturday to allow Palestinians to travel in and out of the Gaza Strip for the first time in three months, in a possible sign of easing tension between Cairo and Gaza's dominant Islamist Hamas movement.

Gaza, a small impoverished coastal enclave, is under blockade by neighboring Israel and Egypt has kept its Rafah crossing largely shut since Cairo's Islamist president was toppled by the army in 2013.Two weeks ago, Egypt reopened Rafah for three days but only in one direction - for Palestinians stranded outside Gaza to return home. But Saturday's move, allowing travel in both directions, might signal a cautious improvement in relations between Cairo and Hamas after two years of high tension.



Local residents said an initial bus with passengers had crossed into Egypt and a source at Cairo international airport said Palestinians were flying in to set out overland for Gaza.

Border officials said the new opening would last for three days and some Palestinian sources said it could be extended, although there was no immediate Egyptian confirmation.

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