Egypt opens Gaza border for month of Ramadan

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has made a rare decision to open the Rafah crossing with Gaza for a month, allowing Palestinians to cross during the holy period of Ramadan.

The decision to keep the crossing open was taken “to alleviate the suffering” of residents in the Palestinian enclave, Mr Sisi said on Facebook yesterday.

The Rafah crossing is Gaza’s only gateway to the outside world not controlled by Israel, but Egypt has largely sealed it in recent years, citing security threats. The last extended opening lasted three weeks in 2013, while usually Palestinians are able to cross for a few dozen days a year. Previous openings of Rafah have been cut short by violence in the Sinai peninsula.

Mr Sisi’s announcement comes after 62 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on Gaza’s frontier earlier this week, with the victims described by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry as “martyrs”. A total of 114 Gazans have been killed in protests and clashes since March 30, in the run-up to the opening on Monday of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Egypt has relations with Israel and Gaza rulers Hamas, giving Cairo a key role in easing tensions between the two and alleviating the pressure on the territory’s two million residents. Hamas leader Ismail Haniya on Sunday visited Egypt, where he met the director of the country’s intelligence services, Abbas Kamel.


Read the full article at The Australian.