Egypt shuts Gaza crossing early amid militant crackdown

Egypt shuts Gaza crossing early amid militant crackdown
Egypt has closed the Rafah crossing to Gaza, a day earlier than planned as Cairo launched a major military offensive in northern Sinai.
1 min read
09 February, 2018
Gazans wait for clearance at the Rafah crossing to enter Egypt [Getty]
The Egypt-Gaza border crossing closed one day earlier than was initially planned, as Cairo launched a major military campaign in the Sinai.

Cairo had on Wednesday announced that the border crossing would open for a three-day period.

However, the Rafah border was not closed before the leader of the Islamist Hamas group, Ismail Haniyeh, left Gaza for talks in neighbouring Egypt, reported AP.

Hamas officials said the visit is to discuss the economic crisis "that put Gaza on the edge of the abyss". Talks will also cover the obstacles stalling a Palestinian unity deal with the Palestinian government in the West Bank.

Thousands of Gazans had gathered on Thursday at the crossing in the hope for a brief chance to leave the Strip. 

The UK-based Medical Aid for Palestinians warned on Tuesday that the healthcare system in Gaza is on the verge of "total collapse," due to Israel's decade-old blockade of the strip.

Egypt has also kept the Rafah crossing mostly closed since Hamas took control over the strip in 2007.