Egypt to open crossing with Gaza for two days

In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo, Egyptian border guards patrol near the border with Israel in Rafah, Egypt. (AP)

Egypt’s authorities will open a border crossing with Gaza in one direction on Tuesday and Wednesday, state television reported on Sunday, according to Egyptian-based news website Awsat Masriya.

The Rafah crossing – currently the strip’s main exit and entry point – has been closed since October, and has only been temporarily opened for a few days since then. The crossing was closed after militant attacks killed over 30 security personnel.

The Palestinian embassy in Egypt said that the decision comes after “high-level” correspondence between Palestine and Egypt, and thanked Egyptian authorities for helping to “alleviate the suffering” of Gazans.

News of the closure comes just days after the World Bank said that Gaza’s economy was “on the verge of collapse.”

According to the report, the Gaza Strip is in a worse state than any other in the world, with unemployment at a global high, output contracting sharply and the long-term prospects worrying.

“Blockades, war and poor governance have strangled Gaza’s economy and the unemployment rate is now the highest in the world,” said the report, drafted by Steen Lau Jorgensen, the World Bank’s director for Gaza and the West Bank.

The report said Gaza's GDP would have been four times higher if not for conflicts and restrictions, including a blockade in place since 2007.

Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade on Gaza after Hamas violently seized the territory from forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas from getting weapons and building militant infrastructure, while critics say it amounts to collective punishment.

Since its takeover, Hamas has fought three wars with Israel, including 50 days of fighting last summer in which thousands of Gaza buildings were either destroyed or damaged. Over 2,200 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed during the war. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46