ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Sissi attempts to push back on Biden’s assertion that he initially bucked requests to reopen Rafah

US President Joe Biden meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

CAIRO — Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi denies that he initially opposed allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing until US President Joe Biden convinced him otherwise.

“From the first moment, Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing from its side without any restrictions or conditions and has mobilized massive humanitarian aid and relief,” the Egyptian leader claims in an official statement.

Israeli, American and Arab officials have told The Times of Israel otherwise, asserting that Egypt initially dragged its feet on re-opening Rafah at the beginning of the war amid fears that it would lead to Palestinians flooding the border.

Yesterday, Biden took credit for convincing Sissi — whom he mistakenly called the president of Mexico — to open the Rafah crossing for aid. “I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate,” Biden said at a news conference.

In his statement, Sissi holds Israel responsible for the delay in allowing aid in, pointing to the airstrikes on the crossing. When the strikes stopped, he said, Egypt repaired the crossing to allow humanitarian aid deliveries.

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