Egypt opens Gaza crossing for three days

Egypt opens Gaza crossing for three days
Border crossing opened temporarily after being closed for 244 days on end by Egyptian authorities.
2 min read
11 December, 2016
The Rafah crossing was effectively sealed shut by Egypt in October 2014 [Anadolu]

Egypt on Saturday temporarily opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza in both directions, local news agencies reported.

It is expected that the crossing will remain open for three days.

Egyptian authorities had kept the crossing closed for 22 days, prior to announcing on Friday that it would be opened on the weekend. Among the first to cross on Saturday were two buses of Egyptian-passport holders and gazans in need of medical attention, registers belonging to Gaza's Ministry of Interior showed.

The Rafah crossing has been effectively sealed by Egyptian authorities since October 2014, when a terror attack in the restive Sinai Peninsula led to heightened security measures.

Egypt accuses Hamas, which holds authority in Gaza, of having provided the weapons for the attack which killed 30 Egyptian soldiers. Hamas denies the allegations.

During the short presidency of Islamist Mohammed Morsi, Hamas enjoyed stronger relations with Egypt, however this has reversed under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who has clamped down on the Muslim Brotherhood movement which is affiliated to Hamas.

Having also built a buffer zone along the Gaza border, Egypt effectively completed the shutting-off of Gaza from the outside world, while an Israeli blockade since 2007 has maintained a stranglehold on the Mediterranean coastal strip.

This blockade has drawn huge international criticism, with many having described Gaza, a city of some 1.8 million people, as effectively the "world's largest open air prison".