Sunday, 6 September 2015

Egypt to open Rafah for 3 days allowing Gazans to make holy pilgrimage


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – The Egyptian authorities on Sunday notified the Gazan Ministry of Interior that the Rafah border crossing would be open for three days starting Monday to allow Gazans to leave for the holy Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia's Mecca, Gazan officials said.

The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior said in a statement that the Egyptian authorities would only allow pilgrims access through the terminal.

The Rafah crossing, Gaza's only connection to the outside world, has been virtually closed since October 2014, allowing only a fraction of Gazans to leave or enter the blockaded enclave.

Last month Egyptian authorities opened the crossing for four days, allowing 2,579 humanitarian cases to leave Gaza while 3,178 people were permitted entry to the coastal enclave.

In late June, Egyptian authorities agreed to keep the crossing open for a week, the longest period so far this year.

The 1.8 million residents of the Gaza Strip have lived under a strict Israeli blockade since 2007, which Egypt has helped to maintain.

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