Egypt reopened its border with the Gaza Strip Wednesday, after a week-long closure following suicide bombings against the Egyptian army, a Palestinian official said.
Gaza border official Maher Abu Sabha said some 5,000 Palestinians, including people seeking medical treatment in Egypt, were demanding to cross. Hundreds at the Rafah crossing Wednesday scuffled with border officials before the border opened.
Hamas prevented some 200 Gazan students from crossing the re-opened border, Palestinian media reported, because they had obtained their visas from the Palestinian Authority Embassy in Cairo, not through Hamas. Reportedly, Hamas police used batons, police vehicles and crowd control methods to prevent the students, who study in Egyptian universities, from crossing.
Last week, suicide bombers killed Egyptian soldiers in the volatile Sinai Peninsula. Egypt’s military has been cracking down on militants there, some of whom have ties to Gaza militants.
Egypt’s army has also destroyed smuggling tunnels to Gaza, compounding supply shortages from an Israeli blockade. Israel has approved the transfer of more cement, water and fuel to Gaza, but rights advocates say the amounts do not fill the needs.