Egypt Closes Rafah Border After 5 Days

A the Rafah crossing. (Photo: Johnny Barber, Palestine Chronicle, file)

Egypt closed the Rafah border on Monday evening after a five-day opening to allow humanitarian cases through.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Iyad al-Bizm, told Ma’an that Egyptian authorities had stopped people trying to leave the blockaded Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, while keeping it open for people entering Gaza.

The Palestinian official said that 3,099 people left Gaza during the five-day opening, including 546 Egyptian passport holders.

Al-Bizm further stated that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza was worsening, and called on Egypt to extend the opening of the crossing.

Israel’s military blockade of the Gaza Strip spans almost a decade. Gaza’s 1.8 million residents continue to struggle to meet their basic needs due to severe constraints on goods coming in and out of the enclave.

Due to the constraints on Palestinian movement through the crossing, many are commonly barred from leaving or entering the Gaza Strip, some for months at a time, despite many urgent medical cases. The crossing is only periodically opened by Egyptian authorities, stranding Palestinians on both sides of the crossing during closures.

In 2015, the Rafah crossing was closed for 344 days. The crossing has been reopened on a more regular basis in 2016.


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