Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza
Rafah border between Egypt and GazaFlash 90

Egyptian authorities on Friday closed the Rafah crossing with Gaza, after it had been open for four days to allow emergency cases through.

Iyam al-Bazem, spokesperson for the Gazan Ministry of Interior, told the Ma’an news agency that 2,579 humanitarian cases left Gaza while 3,178 people entered the coastal territory.

Egypt prevented 146 Palestinians from leaving Gaza, he added.

Some 17,000 Palestinians need to urgently leave the territory, either for medical treatment or to continue their studies abroad, al-Bazem told Ma’an.

Egypt did not indicate when the crossing would next be opened.

Egyptian authorities have kept the crossing virtually sealed since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, though they have temporarily reopened the crossing several times.

Sources in Egypt have revealed that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in October, which killed 30 soldiers, through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai. Hamas denies the allegations.

Egypt has been dealing with an insurgency in the restive Sinai Peninsula, with most of the attacks being claimed by the Sinai Province, which is affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS).

Among the attacks claimed by the group since Morsi's ouster was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. 

Two more attacks took place this week, both on Wednesday night. The first one occurred as gunmen abducted four Palestinians in the Sinai after intercepting a bus bound for Cairo airport, in an attack Hamas blamed on Egyptian intelligence.

Hours later, a large bomb exploded near a national security building in the Shubra neighborhood of Cairo, wounding 29 people, among them six police officers.

Sinai Province later claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming it was revenge for the execution of six defendants in the Arab Sharkas case in May 2015.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)