Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Egyptian border restrictions create misery in Gaza

RAFAH (IRIN) -- Residents and officials in Gaza say the repeated closures of the border crossing into Egypt, a key lifeline for Palestinians in the occupied territories, is destroying livelihoods, harming health and lowering basic living conditions.

The border crossing at Rafah has now been closed for seven consecutive days - the second sustained closure in the past few weeks - following instability in the Sinai region on the Egyptian side of the border.

A reopening is promised tomorrow, Wednesday, but the closures, reduced operating hours and the crackdown on smuggling tunnels are squeezing the country's most important supply line.

Among those who have tried to leave Gaza over the past few weeks is Mona Hussien, 34, and her four children, who normally live in Saudi Arabia.

"I've been to the crossing about five times now (in less than two weeks). My children are tired and so am I. We have school coming. It's our residency at stake; we have to go," she told IRIN.

She came to spend the summer with relatives in Gaza, but has grown increasingly desperate to re-join her husband.

"When are we going to go back to normal? How we can live like other people while we are facing such restrictions, closures and (the) blockade?" more

Fighter injured in Gaza clashes with Israeli troops

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian fighter was injured early Wednesday in clashes with Israeli forces in north Gaza, witnesses and medics said.

Several Israeli military vehicles and infantry troops crossed into a border area in north Gaza, clashing with fighters stationed in the area.

A helicopter provided air cover to the ground forces, witnesses said. It is unclear to which faction the fighter belonged. more