Egypt reopens crossing to let people back into Gaza
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Egypt reopens crossing to let people back into Gaza

The Rafah border will be open for three days as a ‘humanitarian gesture’ but not for Palestinians who want to leave the Strip

Illustrative photo of Palestinian woman who sits next to her luggage as she waits to cross to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, October 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)
Illustrative photo of Palestinian woman who sits next to her luggage as she waits to cross to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, October 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

RAFAH, Egypt — Egypt reopened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip for three days starting on Saturday to allow hundreds of stranded Palestinians to return home, officials said.

The move, described by Palestinian border officials as a “humanitarian” gesture, will allow Palestinians stranded in Egypt and elsewhere, including students and sick people, to return to Gaza.

“Egyptian authorities reopened the Rafah crossing for three days only, from Saturday until Monday, and only in one direction to allow those stranded on the Egyptian side to return home,” a statement said.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade and Egyptian blockade in an attempt to stop weapons reaching Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers.

The Rafah crossing is Gaza’s only gateway to the outside world not controlled by Israel but it has remained largely closed in recent years because of tensions between Egypt and Hamas.

Relations between the two soured after then-Egyptian army chief, now President Abdel Fattah Sisi overthrew his Muslim Brotherhood predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

They have eased this year, however, and Egypt briefly opened the Rafah crossing for humanitarian cases in February and again in March.

The Gaza border authority said on Saturday that “more than 20,000 Palestinian citizens, who are considered humanitarian cases, are stuck in Gaza and desperately need to travel abroad” for treatment.

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