Egyptian authorities decided Friday to open the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip for two days, from Sunday until the end of Monday, to allow people on the two sides and pilgrims to move in and out of the Strip, according to state media.
The Egyptian side had closed the Rafah border due to security concerns in the Sinai Peninsula since July 2013, but occasionally re-opened the crossing to allow Palestinians to travel to and from Gaza. They had launched a campaign to destroy illegal underground tunnels, which have been vital in supplying Gaza residents with food, medicine, fuel, and building materials.
The second group of 500 pilgrims is expected to cross the border on Sunday, heading to the holy places in Saudi Arabia as a gift from Saudi King Salman bin Abdel-Aziz to families of Palestinian martyrs, according to local media.
On 15 August, Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing for two days to allow the first group of Palestinian pilgrims to cross to Saudi Arabia.
A state of emergency has been imposed in North Sinai and curfew hours in the cities of Rafah and Al-Arish following an attack in 2014.
The last few weeks witnessed a rapprochement between the Egyptian regime and Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip, and Egypt recently received several Hamas delegations to enhance relations between the two sides.