Egypt reopens Rafah after kidnapped soldiers released 23MAy13 May 23, 2013

Ma’an News Agency   -   22 May 2013

220115_345x230EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Egyptian police officers reopened the Rafah crossing on Wednesday following the release of seven Egyptian officers on Wednesday, military officials said.

The crossing had been closed for 5 days following the abduction of the servicemen on Thursday by armed gunmen.

The seven officers were released in a desert area south of el-Arish city, Egyptian security services told Ma’an. A military helicopter immediately headed to the area and took the Egyptian officers back to Cairo.

A spokesman for the Egyptian armed forces, colonel Ahmad Muhammad Ali, confirmed that the soldiers had been released and were on their way to Cairo.

The release of the servicemen came after intensive efforts by Egyptian intelligence in cooperation with the “noble people of Sinai and tribal sheikhs,” Ali added.

Egyptian security sources said the gunmen were Jihadists and were demanding the release of suspects accused of killing Egyptian officers in an attack on el-Arish police station in August.

Over 2,400 Palestinians were stranded on both sides of the Rafah crossing following the closure, with a Gaza-based human rights group calling on Egypt to exclude Rafah “from the internal affairs of both sides.”

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