Published: Sun, November 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Egypt to open Gaza border for three days

Egypt to open Gaza border for three days

Egypt made a decision to open the crossing for three days, starting Saturday, to whom it said were humanitarian cases that include students, holders of residency permits in other countries and the ill seeking treatment outside Gaza.

This morning (Saturday), after a decade of Hamas control, the Rafah Border Crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Mufeed al Husayneh, Gaza minister of public works and housing, said the Saturday opening was "the first work of the government of national reconciliation taking over its functions at the Rafah crossing".

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According to the ministry, around 16,000 Palestinians have registered to cross the terminal. Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip had been totally sealed since August, and was largely closed for years before that.

"The Rafah crossing has become a tool that Egypt and Saudi Arabia use to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the entry into a new round of US-backed negotiations with Israel", the PA official said, warning that "the negotiations could reach results that may affect the rights of the Palestinians". As a first step, they handed over control of its border crossings on November 1.

The PA announced that the Rafah crossing would be permanently reopened, after years of Cairo allowing only intermittent exit through the vital passageway.

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Saturday's opening is temporary, however, with the crossing due to close again on Monday.

Majid Faraj met senior Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

Citing security concerns, Egypt and Israel maintain tight restrictions at their Gaza borders.

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Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

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