Egypt-Gaza crossing remains closed after Sinai attack

Egypt keeps Rafah border crossing closed following attack on Sinai mosque in which more than 300 people were killed.

Ben Ariel,

Gazans waiting to cross into Egypt through Rafah crossing
Gazans waiting to cross into Egypt through Rafah crossing
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Egypt will keep the Rafah border crossing to Gaza closed following Friday’s attack on a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula.

The crossing was expected to open temporarily on Saturday, but travelers were told they would not be able to cross after all in the wake of the attack, The Associated Press reported.

On Saturday, guards were the only people to be seen at the crossing. Hamas, which controls Gaza, said 30,000 people have been waiting for a chance to travel. Thus far, Rafah has opened for people exiting Gaza only 17 days this year.

At least 305 people were killed in Friday’s attack on a Sufi mosque in al-Rawda, near the city of El-Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

In the attack, terrorists set off a bomb near the mosque, then began shooting at those who fled the scene. Local media claimed the attack was a suicide attack.

Though none of the terrorist groups known to be active in the Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility, an Egyptian official reported that terrorists waved Islamic State (ISIS) flags as they carried out their attack.

Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing virtually sealed since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, though they have temporarily reopened the crossing several times since that attack, mostly for the passage of humanitarian cases.

Egypt blames Hamas terrorists for providing the weapons for the lethal 2014 attack, which killed 30 soldiers, through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai. Hamas denies the allegations.

The crossing was supposed to reopen for three days soon after a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal was reached last month, but Egypt cancelled the opening following an ISIS attack in northern Sinai which claimed the lives of six Egyptian soldiers.


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