Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Rafah crossing open for five days starting Wednesday morning


Egypt opened its border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning in order to allow Gazans in urgent need to enter and exit the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The terminal is set to remain open for five days in the coming week, not including Friday.

The short break in heavy border restrictions comes as Israel's military blockade of the Gaza Strip approaches nearly a decade. Gaza's 1.8 million residents continue to struggle to meet their basic needs due to severe constraints on goods coming in and out.

While the Egyptian border has remained the main lifeline for Gazans to the outside world, Egyptian authorities have slowly sealed off movement through the border since democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi was toppled by the Egyptian army in 2013.

The sustained closures rose amid accusations by Egyptian authorities that Hamas was backing militants who have carried out deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula that borders the Palestinian territory, allegations Hamas has denied.

However, the Rafah crossing has been reopened on a more regular basis in 2016. The Egyptian government opened the Rafah crossing for four days during the first week of June ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, during which time more than 3,000 people left the Gaza Strip. more