ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Egyptian officials: 35,000 have left Gaza through Rafah crossing since November

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Travelers crossing from the Gaza Strip enter the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian enclave following their evacuation on December 18, 2023. (AFP)
Travelers crossing from the Gaza Strip enter the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian enclave following their evacuation on December 18, 2023. (AFP)

Over 35,000 people have left the Gaza Strip for Egypt through the Rafah crossing since November, according to a spokesman for the Egyptian Border Authority quoted by al-Araby al-Jadeed, amid reports Gazans were paying bribes to leave the Strip.

The figure reportedly includes an estimated 2,000 sick and wounded people who have entered Egypt for medical treatment, as well as staff of international institutions, Egyptian passport holders and dual citizens.

The official adds that under normal circumstances, about 15,000 people a month cross the Rafah border crossing, so over the time span of three months (November-January), the expected traffic should stand at 45,000.

The Qatari-owned news outlet quotes Ammar Fayed, an international relations researcher, claiming that the number of wounded people allowed to cross into Egypt for treatment is negligible and “symbolic,” as it amounts to only about 0.3 percent of those in need.

Egypt is said to have adopted measures to prevent the exploitation of Gazans trying to leave the Strip, after reports emerged that some of them were forced to pay as much as $10,000 to border officials in order to cross.

Al-Araby al-Jadeed reports that Cairo decided in mid-December to replace much of the staff manning the crossing and to appoint supervisors to monitor their work and prevent extortion.

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