The Hamas movement said on Monday that it reclaimed control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, denouncing the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) decision of withdrawing its employees and handing over the crossing.
On Sunday, the PA decreed to pull out its staff and police forces working at the border crossing, accusing Hamas of “summoning, arresting, and abusing” its personnel.
The PA said that the decision came as a result of “Hamas’s practices during the past days,” adding that it cancelled its anniversary which was scheduled on Monday in Gaza “over Hamas’s disapproval to hold the event.”
In the Monday statement, Hamas said that the Egyptian authorities informed them that “the crossing would remain closed and would be limited to individuals and goods”. Hamas asserted that it will run the crossing “to preserve the interest of its people.”
On the other hand, MP Samir Ghattas said in a statement on Monday that he filed a request to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, to prevent Hamas from running the crossing. “Do not allow Hamas to occupy and run crossings in Egypt,” said Ghattas.
Ghattas urged the Egyptian security and diplomatic institutions to “prevent Hamas from running the crossing,” asserting that this would threaten “the country’s national security.”
Ghattas argued that Hamas would “use the crossing to smuggle terrorists to Egypt or to fund the militants inside.”
The Rafah border crossing has been under Hamas’s control since the movement took power in 2007. The PA then took over the border’s control, as part of the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas which took place in Cairo in 2017. During 2018, Egypt has allowed the crossing to be regularly opened.
Following the recent updates, no official statement from the Egyptian government confirmed if the crossing will be opened or closed.