New digital tool announced for Egyptians wanting to leave Gaza Strip
Israel's indiscriminate war on the Palestinian territory, which has seen homes, hospitals and ambulances attacked, has killed at least 17,700 people.
The Egyptian foreign ministry said it had created an online registration link to quickly and efficiently receive the data of Egyptians wanting to return, The New Arab's Arabic sister service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.
It added that once the data is received, detailed lists would be prepared for both Egyptian and Palestinian officials at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai. The aim is to facilitate entry into Egyptian territory.
The ministry urged Egyptian citizens in Gaza to use only the communication and registration channels provided by the new mechanism, saying it is "the only means to return to the homeland".
It said other methods promoted by non-official sources fell under "acts of fraud and deception, and exploiting the difficult conditions that the [Gaza] Strip is going through", adding that they were unconnected to the Egyptian state.
Accusations have been directed at Egyptian officials at Rafah regarding the alleged taking of bribes to include Palestinians' names on lists for crossing into Egypt. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported that some officials were taking bribes of between $5,000 and $7,000 per person.
Former Egyptian parliamentarian Samir Ghattas recently sparked controversy after telling broadcaster MBC Masr that "the Israeli side is notified of the names of the Egyptians wishing to return from the Gaza Strip".
He added that this was to "determine the extent of their relationship" with Hamas, or lack thereof, and "whether their return is approved or rejected".
Cairo said Israel was "not a party in the process of Egyptians obtaining approvals to cross from the strip to Egypt, given that the Egyptian authorities are the ones who handle the measures for their return from Gaza".