Egypt opens Gaza crossing for 1 day

350 stranded Egyptians return home "smoothly;" Hamas request to keep border open rejected.

Rafah waiting great 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Rafah waiting great 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Egyptian authorities opened Rafah terminal on Egypt-Gaza border for a single day on Tuesday to let around 350 Egyptians stuck in Gaza Strip for the past two months to return home, a security official said. According to the official, the stranded Egyptians crossed into Gaza when Hamas blew up parts of the border wall in January letting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to cross into Egypt to shop food and commodities before the barrier was resealed 12 days later. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. Hamas officials described the movement of Egyptians through the crossing as "smooth" and that family members with Palestinian papers and residency in Egypt stayed behind. "We hope the Egyptian efforts yield positive results," said Taher Nunu, a Hamas government spokesman. In addition to the Egyptians, Palestinian trucks and vehicles were allowed to return to Gaza, the Egyptian official said. The vehicles had been originally brought by Palestinian merchants to carry commodities during border breach but then were not allowed to return when the border was reclosed. Hamas wants Egypt to reopen the crossing and give the group a role in monitoring the border, a demand rejected by Cairo. Instead, the Egyptians have called for a return to a 2005 agreement that gives Israel and the European Union monitors a supervisory role.