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Daily Israel Report

Egypt Further Eases Rafiah Crossing Restrictions

Hamas says Cairo, now ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, is easing visa requirements for Gazans under 40 to enter the Sinai
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 7/23/2012, 11:03 PM

Egyptian soldiers at the Rafiah border
Egyptian soldiers at the Rafiah border
Flash 90

Egypt on Monday eased the visa requirements for Gazans under 40 who want to travel to Egypt through the Rafiah border crossing into the Sinai.

"We were officially informed by the Egyptian side about a decision to allow any Palestinian under the age of 40 to travel through Rafah with his family without a visa, starting today,” Hamas official Maher Abu Sabha told reporters.

Until now, residents of the Hamas-run coastal enclave within that age bracket have been unable to travel without a visa due to security concerns.

The new regulations lift that requirement if they are travelling with family, which security analysts say is an obvious loophole for moving Hamas terrorists into Sinai.

Hamas, which seized Gaza from the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in a bloody 2007 putsch, is actively conducting terror operations against the Jewish state from bases in the Sinai.

The government of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubkarak had restricted the movement of Gazans in and out of Sinai following the 2006 Hamas abduction IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive for over five years.

However, Egypt's new Islamist government agreed to permanently reopen Rafiah in May 2011,

Egypt’s newly elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi also recently raised the number of people allowed to cross daily out of Gaza to 1,000.

Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood movement is the parent movement of Hamas.