CAIRO: Since the Oct. 24 coordinated militant attacks on military personnel in North Sinai that killed at least 33 soldiers, the Rafah border crossing with Gaza has been closed, causing problems for Palestinians stranded at the gateway.
The Palestinian Embassy in Egypt had as of Sunday recorded around 2,600 Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side trying to enter Gaza, an anonymous official in the embassy who asked not be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, told The Cairo Post.
He added that around a thousand people are also stranded in European and Arab airports due to the closing of the crossing, and there is no indication the crossing will be reopened anytime soon.
Youm7 Arish correspondent Mahmoud Hussein told The Cairo Post Sunday the authorities at the crossing have not said anything about its reopening, and the military campaign to destroy houses along the border to create a military buffer zone and eliminate smuggling tunnels was ongoing.
Hussein noted the buffer zone campaign is being conducted near the crossing and in adjacent areas.
Palestinian Ministry of Interior spokesperson Iyad al-Bazm asked Thursday for Egyptian authorities to open the crossing. “The events in Egypt are domestic affairs for Egypt and do not relate to the Gaza Strip. It does not make any sense that our people pay the price for these events, or are victims of Egyptian security measures,” he said.
Bazm’s comments came in a press conference in Gaza in which he made assurances the Palestinian border with Egypt is secure and subject to full control by Palestinian security bodies.
Closing the crossing is a “continuation of a critical violation of 2 million Palestinians’ rights,” he added, noting that the crossing has been closed 208 times this year.
“More than 30,000 humanitarian cases are in urgent need to travel,” Bazm continued.
In related news, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Egypt on Nov. 29 to discuss international recognition of the Palestinian state, Al-Hayat newspaper quoted Abbas as saying Sunday in a meeting.