Sunday, 21 December 2014

200 Gazans enter Egypt as Rafah reopens for two days

RAFAH (AFP) -- Around 200 Palestinians left Gaza and entered the Egyptian Sinai through the Rafah crossing on Sunday after Cairo authorized a temporary reopening of the border, a Palestinian official said.

It was only the second time in two months that Egypt had opened the Rafah terminal.

All of those crossing were either seeking medical treatment or were holders of a permit to stay overseas, according to Maher Abu Sabha, director of border crossings in the Gaza Strip.

The southern Rafah crossing is Gaza's only gateway to the world that is not controlled by Israel.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said hundreds of people had gathered in front of the terminal.

"At around midday, three buses carrying around 200 people left Gaza through the Rafah terminal and entered Egypt," Abu Sabha said. more

Hamas warns of Israeli 'foolishness' as leftists denounce Gaza attack

The Hamas movement on Saturday called Israeli airstrikes against a military base in Gaza a "dangerous escalation" as political parties across the Palestinian political spectrum condemned the first bombing since a ceasefire ended the summer's 51-day conflict.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri warned Palestinians in a statement of another "foolish" Israeli act, calling upon the international community to carry out its responsibilities toward renewed Israeli aggression.

The statements come in the wake of Israeli airstrikes that targeted a Hamas military site in the early morning hours Saturday, causing no injuries but bring back memories of the Israeli offensive over summer that left nearly 2,200 Palestinians dead and almost 110,000 homeless.

The Israeli military said it launched the attack in retaliation for a rocket from Gaza the day before that landed near the border in Eshkol but caused no injuries. Hamas denied any responsibility for the rocket but Israel has said it holds Hamas responsible for any rocket fired by any group inside Gaza.

Palestinian political organizations widely denounced the bombing, condemning Israel for its repeated violations of the August ceasefire. Israeli forces have opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at sea and civilians near the border repeatedly, injuring dozens and killing one.

The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called upon the Palestinian people and political parties to be prepared for an Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip and called for political and social unity in resistance.

The PFLP said in a statement that Israel had never ended its offensive against the Strip as it had continued even after the end of bombings through the ongoing siege and blockade, as well as the obstacles placed by authorities to importing materials to rebuild Gaza. more

Rafah crossing to open for 2 days starting Sunday

Egyptian authorities have decided to open the Rafah crossing with Gaza for two days starting Sunday for those stuck in the Gaza Strip trying to reach Egypt as well as to allow humanitarian aid to enter the besieged coastal enclave.

The Palestinian embassy in Cairo told Ma'an that Egypt decided to open the crossing after intensive discussion between the embassy and the authorities.

Director of the Gaza crossings Maher Abu Sabha said that he is working to deliver the messages of patients in need to travel and of foreign passports holders in order to get the crossing opened in both directions.

Abu Sabha said that on Sunday the crossing will be open only for patients and foreign passports holders, and that Monday will be for students registered at the crossings department.

The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing in late November for four days to allow those stuck in Egypt and other countries to enter the Gaza Strip.

The crossing had been closed for more than 56 days before that, however, in the wake of a bomb attack in North Sinai in October that left more than 30 Egyptian policemen dead. more