Gazan hunger strikers gather at Rafah

Follows UN claim that Egypt stopping 6,000 Palestinians crossing into Strip.

July 6, 2007 15:09
1 minute read.
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Some 100 Palestinians, stuck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing went on hunger strike Friday, demanding they be allowed to cross into the Gaza Strip. One of the Palestinians, Mohammad, said that for 20 days he and the other Palestinians, including women and children, had been staying in a room at El-Arish Airport and sleeping on the floor, Israel Radio reported. Other Palestinians seeking to return to Gaza were reportedly waiting in Cairo. A UN report published Thursday claimed that some 6,000 Palestinians were waiting in the El Arish area for the opening of Rafah so that they could return to Gaza but that Egypt was preventing them from approaching the border. Rafah crossing has been closed for about a month after European monitors left when the Hamas-Fatah clashes broke out. Meanwhile, Israel, the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority are working to raise the capacity of the Kerem Shalom terminal, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reported. Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza, Karni Crossing, the main commercial passageway into the Strip, has been closed to the transfer of all goods and as a result, Israel and the UN have relied on the secondary passageways of the Kerem Shalom and Sufa terminals to transfer humanitarian assistance with the help of the Fatah-led PA.

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