Hamas Slams Egypt's Siege of Gaza
Gaza's Hamas terrorist rulers on Tuesday sharply criticized Egypt's closure of the Rafiah border crossing, saying Cairo's tightening of restrictions on Gaza was a "crime against humanity," AFP reported.
"The Egyptian authorities' insistence on closing the Rafiah crossing and tightening the Gaza blockade... is a crime against humanity by all standards and a crime against the Palestinian people," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement quoted by the news agency.
He condemned "the continuation of this blockade and closing the crossing, all whilst Israel escalates and (increases) aggression."
"We hold all parties to the blockade of Gaza completely responsible for the consequences of this crime," charged Barhoum.
The government of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was friendly with Hamas, but the military-led government that ousted him has cracked down on Hamas, which it accuses of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas.
Hamas has denied the Egyptian government’s allegations, claiming they were an “attempt to demonize Hamas”.
In addition to closing the Rafiah border crossing and essentially imposing a siege on Gaza, Egypt has also sealed most of the smuggling tunnels that are used to transport fuel and goods from Sinai, but also weapons and terrorists.
The Hamas interior ministry said that Rafiah, for many Gazans the only passage in and out of the Strip and a crucial crossing for supplies, has now been closed for 39 straight days.
The UN, reported AFP, slammed closures to Gaza's border crossings by both Egypt and Israel, expressing concern for Gazans in need of medical treatment.
"Extremely limited movement in and out of Gaza from (Israeli-controlled) Erez and Rafiah crossings continues to afflict the civilian population, including patients awaiting medical treatment," UN under-secretary general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman said in a Tuesday briefing to the Security Council.
"Recurrent drug and medical equipment shortages are affecting the Gaza medical system, further increasing the number of patients seeking referral outside for medical conditions that could have been treated inside Gaza, were supplies available," he added.
Earlier this week, dozens of sick and disabled residents of Gaza protested the Egyptian siege, demanding passage to Egypt for ongoing medical treatment in the Nile state and other countries.
Roughly 1,500 sick and injured people in Gaza are waiting for the reopening of the border crossing.