Rafah border crossing opens Saturday

Hundreds of Palestinians stranded in Egypt since July return to Gaza Strip.

kids cross rafah298 88ap (photo credit: AP [file])
kids cross rafah298 88ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Egypt-Gaza border crossing opened Saturday, giving hundreds of stranded Palestinians the chance to return to the Gaza Strip for the first time in a month. Egypt tourism police Capt. Amr Osama said the crossing will be open for two days in both directions. Several hundred Palestinians gathered in front of the crossing early Saturday waiting to return to the Gaza Strip. About 130 Palestinian deportees also were taken by bus from Egypt to Gaza. Hundreds of state security troops were deployed in front of the gates to prevent any skirmishes among the travelers and the crossing officials. Inside Gaza, buses that can usually carry 50 people were being crammed with more than twice that amount to get people across the border as quickly as possible, said a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Eleven Palestinians who recently were hit with shrapnel in the Gaza Strip crossed into Egypt and were taken by ambulance to a hospital in el-Arish to undergo surgery, said hospital official Ahmed Saleh. The Rafah crossing opened about a week ago for one day but only for people traveling from Gaza to Egypt. The last time Palestinians could cross from Egypt to Gaza was in mid-July. Saturday's opening was the third time the crossing has opened since the latest fighting erupted in Gaza on June 25. Israel launched its offensive after Hamas-linked operatives killed two Israeli soldiers and kidnapped another in a cross border raid.