Palestinian rally at Rafah crossing 521.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Egyptian authorities reopened the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza Saturday
afternoon, after dozens of Palestinian protesters in Gaza stormed the crossing’s
RELATED:450 Gazans enter Egypt on first day of Rafah opening
According to sources quoted by Israel Radio, Egypt delayed the
border’s opening Saturday morning by nearly three
Hamas fumes as Egypt cuts Rafah crossings to 400 per day
Palestinian-border officials said three buses filled with 180
passengers had waited several hours to cross the border at Rafah, the
Hamas-ruled gateway to Egypt, and some of those waiting responded by forcing the
“We have not been notified of any reason for the closure –
passengers are angry,” one of the officials told Reuters.
news channel Ma’an reported that Egyptian authorities said the border was closed
due to “works in progress.”
The unexpected closure comes only days after
Egypt announced that the number of travelers allowed to cross in Rafah would be
limited to between 350 and 400 people a day. The new restrictions strained
relations between Hamas and Egypt, less than a week after the border crossing
Salameh Baraka, director of Hamas’s border-crossing police
in the Gaza Strip, denounced the restrictions as unreasonable, said they were a
setback and called on Cairo to reconsider its move.
He added that the
Egyptians justified the restrictions by arguing that they were unable to
accommodate more than 400 people per day.
The Egyptian envoy to the
Palestinian Authority, Yasser Othman, denied that the restrictions were the
result of external pressure on the Egyptian authorities.
He said there
was no change in Egypt’s decision to reopen the border crossing, and blamed
technicalities and logistics for the delays and limits.Khaled Abu Toameh
contributed to this report.