Official says Rafah crossing to operate until Friday 2Oct13 October 2, 2013

Ma’an News Agency     -    1 October 2013
192472_345x230CAIRO (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah crossing with Gaza until Friday to allow hajj pilgrims and humanitarian cases to cross, an Egyptian official said.Sami Mitwali, Egyptian director of the Rafah terminal, told Ma’an that hajj pilgrims from Gaza will be be traveling to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The crossing will operate from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily.

On Sunday, stranded Palestinian travelers tried to storm through the gates of the crossing to protest delays at the terminal.

The Gaza ministry of interior said around 5,000 people were stranded on the Palestinian side.

There have been frequent closures of the Rafah terminal in recent weeks due to political unrest in Egypt and violence in the Sinai peninsula.

After a July coup which deposed president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s army has repeatedly closed the Rafah border crossing and destroyed hundreds of tunnels that Hamas used for years to import fuel, building materials and other goods.

The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza’s 1.8 million residents and the outside world since the destruction of Gaza’s international airport in 2001 and the subsequent air and naval blockade.

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