EGYPT OPENS GAZA CROSSING FOR FIRST TIME THIS YEAR

GAZA, Palestine, Egyptian authorities opened Saturday, the Rafah border crossing, for the first time, since the beginning of this year, said an official of the Islamic Hamas movement.

The Hamas-run ministry of interior said, in an emailed press statement, that, Egypt has opened the crossing for four days, to allow hundreds of Palestinians to travel through the Gaza crossing with Egypt, in both directions.

The statement said that, nearly 20,000 Palestinians are registered to travel for humanitarian reasons, including education, medical treatment and family reunification.

Egypt last opened the crossing on Dec 17, also for four days, after frequent Palestinian demands.

The opening of the crossing came, a day after Deputy Chief of Hamas, Ismail Haneya, returned to Gaza after spending four months in Qatar.

Rafah crossing is the only available crossing point for around two million Palestinians, living in the embargoed Gaza Strip, that has been ruled by the Islamic Hamas movement, since it violently seized control of it in 2007.

Egypt, with whom Gaza shares the eastern border, had shut down the border and imposed restrictions on the crossing, after ties between Hamas and Egyptian officials faltered, following the ouster of Islamic President, Mohammad Morsi in 2013, when Egypt accused Hamas of intervening in its internal affairs.

The restrictions on the border crossing have lead to severe consequences on the economic situation of the Gaza Strip.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Arab News Express