The Egyptian government has opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip for four days, starting Monday, to allow stranded Palestinians to return, according to the Palestinian News Agency.
Daib Al-Louh, Palestine’s ambassador to Egypt, thanked President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the Egyptian authorities for facilitating the movement of passengers into Gaza. Al-Louh also highlighted his appreciation for the ongoing support of the Palestinian cause on all political and diplomatic levels.
Palestine’s embassy in Cairo had alerted its citizens still Egypt and who wished to return to Gaza, that they should head to the Rafah land crossing during the appointed days.
The Rafah border crossing had been under Hamas control since the movement took power in 2007. The Palestinian Authority took over the border’s control, as part of the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, which took place in Cairo in 2017. In 2018, Egypt had allowed the crossing to be regularly opened.
The border officially closed in October 2014 following attacks by the militant group “Sinai Province” on the Qarm Al-Qawadis checkpoint. The attack resulted in the deaths of at least 33 military personnel. Since then, the crossing has only been opened in exceptional cases.
The crossing is the main gateway to the outside world for roughly 2 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, and is the only crossing point not controlled by Israel. Egypt opens the crossing periodically for humanitarian purposes.
There are currently 13 confirmed coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip with 255 in the West Bank. The death toll has, at the time of writing, reached two.