Egypt closes Rafah Gaza crossing indefinitely

Crossing had been opened to facilitate pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia for hajj; Haim Koren named Israel's ambassador to Egypt.

October 28, 2013 09:21
1 minute read.
Egyptian Army soldiers guard gates of Sinai Gaza closed border crossing, May 20, 2012.

Rafah border crossing Sinai Gaza370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Egypt closed the Rafah crossing into Gaza on Saturday after it allowed Palestinians to return from the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The crossing had been open for a week and an Egyptian source told the German Press Agency that the crossing would be closed indefinitely.

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Meanwhile, the Egyptian Interior Ministry confirmed that the man behind the attack on the convoy of Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim in September was a former major in the army. The Sinai-based Islamist group that took responsibility for the attack, Ansar Bayt Al- Maqdis, released a video on Saturday identifying Maj. (ret.) Waleed Badr as the suicide bomber.

Ibrahim was unharmed, but more than 21 people were wounded, including one who died the next day.

Ministry spokesman Abdel-Fatah Osman told a local TV station that Badr had been dismissed from the army because of his “jihadist orientation.”

Also on Saturday, Egyptian security forces continued operations in Sinai and arrested dozens of suspects and confiscated weapons, Egyptian officials told Ma’an News Agency. Raids took place in several villages in and around El-Arish.

In other news, AFP reported that Israel named Haim Koren as its new ambassador to Egypt.

Koren is currently nonresident ambassador to South Sudan and previously served as the director of the Foreign Ministry’s political planning division and on the Cairo embassy staff.

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