Egypt decides to open Gaza border for month of Ramadan

18 May, 2018, 16:13 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Palestinians wait with their luggage to cross into Egypt at the Rafah crossing

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi decided on Thursday to keep Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza in Palestine open during Ramadan, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rafah and the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel are the only two points through which goods can go in and out of the Hamas-run territory.

Sisi's Twitter account said the opening of the crossing would "alleviate the burdens of brothers in Gaza".

Ramadan started on May 17 and is expected to end on June 14. "Not only will Rafah's extended opening contribute to de-escalating the explosive atmosphere in the Strip, it will also help ease the humanitarian burden on Palestinians in Gaza".

The Erez crossing, the other exit for Gazans, is managed by the Israelis, who put severe limit on the number of people who can pass through it.

Palestinian protesters run for cover from Israeli troops
Palestinian protesters run for cover from Israeli troops

The Rafah crossing is the Gaza Strip's only gateway to the outside world not controlled by Israel, but Egypt has largely sealed it in recent years, citing security threats. Previously, Egypt would open the crossing for three consecutive days from time to time, allowing only medical patients, students and those with permits for Egypt to cross.

Many Palestinians injured by Israeli fire in clashes along the Gaza-Israel border have been received by Egypt.

For more than a decade Israel has imposed a crippling blockage on Gaza which it says is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008.

Turkey was preparing Friday to host an emergency summit of the world's main pan-Islamic body, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, in Istanbul.

Palestinians were seen being searched with metal detectors and having their bags checked by Israeli authorities, while at least two men in wheelchairs were pushed through the checkpoint by border agents.

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