Monday, November 29, 1999

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for stranded Palestinians

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Gaza, May 15 (DPA) Egypt opened its crossing point with the Gaza Strip at Rafah Saturday to allow around 8,000 stranded Palestinians to cross into Egypt, the Palestinian Border Crossing Corporation (PBCC) said.'Around 8,000 Palestinians, including patients, students, businessmen and Palestinians holding other foreign nationalities will be crossing into Egypt starting from Saturday until Monday,' the PBCC said in a statement.The statement said that a total of 17 buses, six for people needing medical treatment, and 11 for holders of foreign passports, were scheduled to pass through the terminal Saturday.The PBCC, which comes under the authority of the Hamas administration ruling the coastal strip, expressed the hope that reopening the crossing would 'would ease the suffering of the population due to more than three years of a tight blockade had been imposed in the Gaza Strip.'Since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing mostly shut, opening it only sporadically for humanitarian reasons. The crossing is the enclave's only entry to, and exit from, the Strip which does not pass through Israel, which has imposed its own blockade on the Strip.Cairo will not open the terminal permanently until Hamas and its rival, the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, sign an agreement ending their political rift.

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