Egypt closes Rafah crossing to Gaza

Egyptian authorities close Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza in both directions.

Elad Benari,

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

Egyptian authorities on Thursday closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza in both directions, the Ma’an news agency reported.

Egyptian authorities informed the Rafah border crossing administration of the closure due to anniversary celebrations of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

The border crossing is scheduled to resume operations on January 27, allowing passage in one direction only, according to Ma’an.

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.

Earlier this month, Egypt decided that the crossing will be open in one direction only, for people wishing to cross from Egypt into Gaza. The decision was made after the Palestinian Authority withdrew its staff from the crossing due to clashes with Hamas.

The PA took control of Rafah in November 2017, as part of a reconciliation deal with Hamas. The deal, however, has never been fully implemented due to what has been described as “obstacles” between the sides.

Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing closed as it 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.


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