World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of supporters of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas performed the weekly Friday prayers outside the gates of the Rafah crossing linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt.
"[The Rafa] terminal is the only gateway for the Gaza people," preacher Sheikh Mohamed Saqr said.
"The crossing must be opened in order not to leave the Palestinian people suffering under the blockade," he added.
The preacher went on to call on Egyptian authorities to end of he described as "injustice and oppression of the Palestinian people".
Hamas leader Mohamed al-Raqeb, for his part, called on Egyptian authorities to reopen the Rafah crossing in both directions, vowing to escalate what he called a "peaceful struggle" to bring "the unjust siege" to an end.
"The unjust blockade has affected all livelihood in the Palestinian territory," he said.
Egyptian authorities have tightened their control over the border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip since last July's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army.
In recent weeks, Egypt has repeatedly closed the Rafah crossing, which – due to an ongoing, eight-year Israeli siege – represents Gaza's only window to the outside world.
The Egyptian army has also launched a campaign aimed at destroying the network of tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which in recent years had been used to bring vital commodities into the besieged coastal enclave, home to nearly 2 million Palestinians.
Egyptian authorities blame Hamas, an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group which propelled Morsi to power in the 2012 elections, of involvement in recent attacks in Egypt, a claim vehemently denied by the Islamist group.
They have accused several Palestinians of involvement in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 revolution that ousted autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.Last Mod: 28 Şubat 2014, 15:09