Egypt to open border crossing with Gaza for two days - state television

Sunday 24-05-2015 02:40 PM
Egypt to open border crossing with Gaza for two days - state television

Egyptian soldiers stand guard on the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, near Rafah August 6, 2012.Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters


CAIRO, May 24 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah border crossing in one direction, from Egypt to Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday, Egypt's state television reported on Sunday. 

The Palestinian embassy in Egypt said this decision comes after "high level" communication between the leadership of Palestine and Egypt over the past period, in a statement. 

The embassy thanked Egyptian authorities for striving to "alleviate the suffering" of the people of Gaza.  

Gaza has been under siege since 2007, when resistance movement Hamas seized control of the strip. The siege makes the border crossing vital for Gazans and is currently the strip's main exit and entry point.

The Rafah crossing has been closed since October, "except intermittently on 12 days, on which it was partially opened," United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a weekly report issued earlier this month. 

The shutdown of the crossing came one day after militant attacks left over 30 security personnel dead on October 24, 2014, in one of the deadliest militant operations in Egypt since a wave of insurgency rose in Egypt in mid-2013.

Last week, a top counselor at the Palestinian embassy said the opening of the border crossing is "connected to the stability of the security situation in Sinai," in a statement posted on the embassy's website.

He stressed the "necessity" of solving the "Rafah crisis" urgently, based on political solutions. 

The densely populated Gaza strip is home to 1.8 million people and is currently recovering from destruction caused by 51 days of Israeli military operations in the summer of last year, which have left more than "96,000 homes were damaged or destroyed," according to an assessment in December 2014 by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.  

A study by OCHA in December described the situation in Gaza as being "further compounded by the restriction imposed since 2013 by the Egyptian authorities at Rafah Crossing."

The most the crossing was opened was in 2012, during which it was left open for 310 days allowing around 420,000 people to cross, according to figures from the study.    

In 2013, the number fell to 262 days, permitting the crossing of a little over 300,000 people.

However, in 2014, the number drastically fell to 158 days with only 97, 690 being able to cross. Last year was the second lowest in terms of number of days the crossing was opened, since the strip became subject to blockade in 2007. 

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