CAIRO: The Palestinian Republican Guards will begin to participate in the administration of the Rafah border crossing “within weeks,” Palestinian sources in Cairo told Quds Net news website Sunday.
The Palestinian embassy in Cairo is carrying out needed preparations to control the crossing in cooperation with Egyptian forces at the Gaza borders in accordance with an agreement between Egypt and Hamas, Quds Net reported, without giving further details.
The crossing would be opened in cooperation with Egyptian forces at the borders to “ease the struggle” of Palestinians in Gaza strip, the sources told the Palestinian website.
Hamas approved the agreement through the mediation of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose representatives visited Egypt last month for almost a week.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his readiness to run the crossing, which Egypt deemed a pledge to preserve its national security, the sources told Quds Net.
Egypt’s relations with Hamas soured after the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, culminating in the designation of Hamas as a “terrorist organization” in February. The ruling, however, was annulled in March after the civil plaintiff dropped the case.
Egypt instituted a 1-km wide buffer zone along the Rafah border in late 2014, following an October attack by militants that killed dozens of Egyptian soldiers in North Sinai’s Arish. The buffer zone required the displacement of more than 1,000 families, and the military announced it had discovered a number of tunnels in the vacated areas.
Last week a 2.8 km-long tunnel was discovered near the border, prompting the government to announce it was considering an extension of the buffer zone.