Egypt opens crossing to Gaza for 1st time in month

Palestinians returning to Gaza arrive through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip Nov. 26, 2014. (AFP)

Egyptian authorities temporarily re-opened a border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday to allow Palestinians stranded outside the territory to return home, officials said.

The crossing had been closed since Oct. 24, when a militant ambush killed 31 Egyptian soldiers near the border town of Rafah.

Since the October attack, Egypt declared a three-month state of emergency and a dusk-to-dawn curfew for much of northern Sinai. Soldiers also started demolishing houses along the border to create a security buffer zone and block cross-border smuggling tunnels.

Maher Abu Sabha, director of the crossing point on the Gaza side, said that the crossing would be open Wednesday and Thursday - but only to those entering Gaza. Sabha called on the Egyptian government to fully open the border to two-way traffic.

North Sinai has seen a spike in militant attacks against security forces, particularly after last year’s military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi. On Wednesday, gunmen killed a police officer and two conscripts in el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai, authorities said, without elaborating.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44