First Published: 2017-11-17

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3 days
Border between Gaza, Egypt set to open for three days for first time since Palestinian reconciliation deal that was brokered by Egypt.
Middle East Online

Both Israel and Egypt have maintained blockades of Gaza for years.

GAZA - The largely sealed border between Gaza and Egypt was set to open for three days for the first time since the Palestinian reconciliation deal, an official said on Friday.

Interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum said the Rafah crossing from the coastal Palestinian enclave into Egypt would be open from Saturday.

However, only humanitarian cases registered with the ministry would be allowed to leave, with this including up to 20,000 people in the empoverished enclave of two million, he added.

Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip had been totally sealed since August, and was largely closed for years beforehand.

Under the terms of a Palestinian reconciliation agreement reached last month, Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas are supposed to cede power to West Bank-based rivals Fatah by December 1.

As a first step, they handed over control of the crossings on November 1.

That Egypt-brokered deal is expected to lead to more regular opening of the Rafah crossing, which Cairo has largely shuttered in recent years.

Saturday's opening is temporary, however, with the crossing due to close again on Monday.

In a related development, the head of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority's security services arrived in Gaza on Friday.

Majid Faraj met senior Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

All Palestinian factions are due to meet in Cairo next week to discuss ways to move reconciliation forward.

Both Israel and Egypt have maintained blockades of Gaza for years, arguing that they are necessary to isolate Hamas.

 

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