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

Egyptian authorities on Saturday opened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, the Ma’an news agency reports.

The border crossing is expected to be open for three days in both directions.

Two buses carrying Egyptian-passport holders and another carrying humanitarian cases crossed to the Egyptian side, according to registers by the Ministry of Interior in Gaza.

The Rafah crossing had been closed for 22 days before Egyptian authorities announced on Friday that they would be opening the crossing on Saturday.

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 crossingseveral times since that specific attack.

The reason for the closures of the Rafah crossing is Egypt’s accusations that Hamas terrorists had provided 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.

Hamas was friendly with the Egyptian regime of former President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, but his successor, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has cracked down on Hamas.

As part of the crackdown, Egypt has shut down the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula and has also built a buffer zone along the border.

In 2015, the Rafah crossing was closed for 344 days. The crossing has been reopened on a more regular basis since the beginning of 2016, noted Ma’an.