Auja crossing between Egypt and Israel closed 20May13 May 20, 2013

Ma’an News Agency    -    19 May 2013

131743_345x230EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) – Egyptian police officers closed the Al-Auja crossing in central Sinai on Sunday in an expression of solidarity with their fellow officers at Rafah crossing.

The crossing, south of Rafah, is used to transfer goods between Egypt and Israel.

Police officers manning the crossing on Sunday morning did not allow trucks to travel through the terminal in either direction, causing a heavy traffic jam on both sides.

The closure came as Egyptian police at Rafah shut down that terminal for a third day in a row after the kidnappings of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, officials said.

They are preventing all Palestinians from traveling through the crossing or leaving the Gaza Strip, the Gaza interior ministry said Sunday.

On Saturday, the Hamas-run Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that talks were underway with Egypt to reopen the crossing.

“The ministry of foreign affairs is holding talks with senior officials in Egypt to re-open the Rafah crossing and ensure the safe return of people stranded by the closure,” deputy foreign minister Ghazi Hamad told Ma’an.

Gaza’s Interior Ministry announced a state of alert along its border with Egypt on Thursday in case the kidnappers tried to smuggle the Egyptian servicemen into Gaza.

Early Thursday, gunmen ambushed two minibuses in Wadi al-Akhdar, between el-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid cities, and kidnapped seven Egyptian servicemen en route to Cairo for their monthly vacation, Egyptian security officials told Ma’an.

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