World Bulletin / News Desk
The Egyptian authorities on Friday opened the Rafah border crossing, which links the Gaza Strip to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, for a two-day period.
According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent based in the area, passenger buses began crossing the border into Egypt on Friday while trucks laden with commercial goods crossed from Egypt into the strip.
On Thursday, Egypt announced that the crossing would be opened for a two-day period starting Friday to allow medical cases in Gaza to seek treatment abroad and to allow Palestinians stranded in Egypt to return to the coastal enclave.
The move comes a month after Egypt abruptly reclosed the crossing after having opened it briefly on Feb. 21.
The Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing is currently run by the Ramallah-based Palestinian government, which took over control of the strip’s border crossings from Hamas last November.
The handover was carried out in line with an Egypt-sponsored reconciliation agreement between Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah (which leads the Ramallah government) signed in Cairo last October.
The Gaza Strip, which has groaned under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade -- by air, land and sea -- since 2007, has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world.
Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh -- at Rafah -- is controlled by Egypt, which has kept it tightly sealed for the most part since former President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected leader, was ousted in a 2013 military coup.
Israel sealed four of its commercial crossings with Gaza in mid-2007 after Hamas wrested control of the coastal territory from forces loyal to Fatah.Last Mod: 23 Mart 2018, 15:30