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Home Archive 22/February/2018 09:24 AM

Egypt shuts down Rafah crossing hours after opening it, confusion caused

 

CAIRO, February 22, 2018 (WAFA) - Egypt announced on Wednesday night sudden closure of Rafah crossing with Gaza, only hours after opening it and after it was supposed to stay open for four days, according to the Palestinian embassy in Cairo.

It said in a statement that the Egyptian authorities informed it in an unexpected move that the crossing is going to be closed without giving any reason for this sudden decision.

The embassy announced on Tuesday evening that the Rafah crossing will be open for four days, starting Wednesday.

This gave hope to thousands of Palestinians stranded at Cairo airport and at both sides of the Rafah crossing to be able to travel to and from the Gaza Strip. However, the new announcement caused big confusion among the stranded Palestinians.

The embassy said that Ambassador Diab al-Louh has formed a crisis management team to follow up on the issue and safety of the stranded Palestinians, especially those travelling through the Sinai desert from Cairo to the Gaza border.

He urged Palestinians not to travel at night due to the dangers involved from the presence of armed groups in the Sinai.

The same scenario occurred two weeks ago when Egypt announced the opening of the crossing for four days, but closed it all of a sudden on the first day, which resulted in hundreds of Palestinians who wanted to return to Gaza to get stranded at either Cairo airport or the border crossing.

Egypt opens the crossing, which is Gaza‘s only window to the outside world, for a few days every one or two months to allow movement of what is described as humanitarian cases, including students studying abroad, people with work permits and residency in other countries and patients seeking treatment outside Gaza.

The crossing was supposed to open continuously once the Palestinian Authority assumes full control of the Gaza Strip, currently under Hamas rule, as part of reconciliation process between the ruling Fatah movement and Hamas.

M.K.

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