Palestinian students riot at Gaza border crossing
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Palestinian students riot at Gaza border crossing

Protesters charge at barrier gate between Strip and Egypt, blocked by Hamas guards, after being stranded at terminal for days

Hamas security forces stand guard in front of the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, on September 16, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90/Abed Rahim Khatib)
Hamas security forces stand guard in front of the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, on September 16, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90/Abed Rahim Khatib)

Hundreds of agitated Palestinian students set to study abroad stormed a barrier gate at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Sunday after being denied entry to the Sinai Peninsula and forced to wait at the border terminal for several days.

On Saturday, the Egyptian army reopened the Rafah border crossing, after shutting it last week due to security threats along the border with the Hamas-controlled territory. Hamas officials said that 300 Palestinians were expected to enter Egypt daily until further notice.

The Egyptian army did not specify how long the crossing would remain open.

According to Palestinian news agency Safa, the students, who contended that Hamas officials were issuing passage rights to other individuals at their expense, were blocked by guards at the site.

At least 5,500 travelers are stranded in Gaza, the Associated Press reported, including many medical patients.

Egyptian authorities have closed the border crossing intermittently since the military deposed president Mohammed Morsi on July 3. The terminal’s operating hours have been sharply curtailed since July, when they were shortened from nine hours per day to just four.

According to Egyptian officials, the restrictions led to a drop in the number of people crossing each day from about 1,200 to just 150.

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