Egypt reopens Rafah crossing for three days

Egypt has kept the crossing with Gaza virtually sealed since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014.

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

For the first time in five months, Egypt on Tuesday reopened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for three days to allow hundreds of travelers to cross, the Xinhua news agency reported.

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 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.

Egypt completely closed the border crossing point in mid-March as part of the tight precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hamas-run ministries of interior and health in Gaza said that all those who will cross through Rafah crossing point to Gaza should go to quarantine centers outside the populated areas of the coastal enclave for 21 days over COVID-19 concerns.

Last year, Egypt decided that the Rafah 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.



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