Stranded Travelers Storm Gaza Crossing

Stranded travelers tried to storm through the gates of Gaza’s Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border on Sunday to protest delays at the terminal.

Travelers including students denounced Egypt’s closure of the crossing and demanded that they be allowed to travel in order to reach their destinations throughout the world.

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

Egyptian authorities partially reopened the Rafah crossing on Sunday for the second day in a row to allow humanitarian cases to cross. Some 370 people managed to cross.

On Saturday, over 300 people used the Rafah crossing after Egypt reopened the terminal between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Egyptian director of the Rafah terminal Sami Mitwali told Ma’an that the crossing will be opened again on Monday. On Wednesday it will be opened for Muslim residents of the Gaza Strip going on pilgrimage to Mecca.

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 the 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.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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