Egypt to open Rafah border crossing for 2 days

Tuesday 10-05-2016 04:18 PM

An Egyptian soldier stands guard at a checkpoint in Rafah city on the Egyptian border, August 6, 2012. Islamist gunmen killed at least 15 Egyptian police on Sunday and seized two military vehicles to attack a crossing point into Israel, the deadliest incid

CAIRO, May 10 (Aswat Masriya) – Egyptian authorities are set to open the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday and Thursday to allow humanitarian cases in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip to cross into Egypt, Egyptian state television reported.

The crossing will be opened at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was in Cairo for a two-day visit that was concluded on Monday.

The Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza, which is controlled by the Hamas movement, had asked the Egyptian authorities in late April to open the crossing for humanitarian cases.

The border was last opened in February for three days, for the first time in 2016.

It was closed on Oct. 25, 2014 after a large-scale militant attack on the Karm al-Qawadis checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which borders Gaza, left 33 Egyptian soldiers dead.

The Rafah border crossing connects Sinai to the besieged Gaza Strip and is the strip's main entry and exit point. Gaza also borders Israel.

Gaza's area is around 360 square kilometers and is home to 1.8 million people, making the enclave among the world's most densely-populated areas.

The Gaza Strip has been under a land, air and sea blockade enforced by Israel since 2007, after Hamas won the Palestinian legislative election and took control of the strip.

In May 2015, the World Bank said, "blockades, war and poor governance have strangled Gaza's economy and the unemployment rate is now the highest in the world," adding that the enclave's economy is on the "verge of collapse." 

The difficult living conditions in the enclave were worsened after destruction caused by 50 days of Israeli military operations in the summer of 2014.

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