Egypt closes Rafah border crossing into bloackaded Gaza
Egyptian authorities have once again sealed its main border crossing with the besieged Gaza Strip after it was opened for a week in both directions.
Palestinian border official Maher Abu Sabha said on Saturday that Egyptian security forces closed Rafah Crossing on late Friday until further notice.
The official expressed hope that the crossing, which is the only gateway out of the blockaded Palestinian territory bypassing Israel, would “re-open in both directions permanently.”
Abu Sabha also said in a statement that at least “3,819 citizens were able to travel from Gaza through the crossing during the week and that 1,012 stranded passengers arrived” in the besieged coastal enclave.
There are “12,000 citizens registered on the lists of the Interior Ministry in Gaza still waiting for their turn to travel,” the statement added.
Sources say this is the first time in months that the crossing was opened for people traveling in both directions.
A Palestinian child sleeps at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, as she and her family await permission to enter Egypt on June 13, 2015. (AFP Photo)
Egyptian security forces have kept Rafah Crossing closed to Palestinians for most of the past two years, citing security concerns. The crossing is the only passage for Palestinians to move in and out of the besieged Palestinian enclave free from Israeli control.
Cairo tightened the restrictions on the border crossing after the Egyptian military ousted former President Mohammed Morsi in a 2013 coup.
Egyptian security forces have also launched a crackdown on the underground tunnels, which are the only lifeline for Palestinians living under the Israeli siege.
Tel Aviv regime has imposed a strict siege over the impoverished Palestinian sliver of roughly 1.8 million since 2007.