CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza Strip on Monday open for an extra day, due to a number of stranded Palestinians after hundreds traveled in both directions during the past two days, reported state-run news agency MENA Sunday.
The border was initially opened on Saturday for two days per Sisi’s decision, to allow Palestinian travelers in both directions.
An official source at the border was quoted by Youm7 saying that coordination between the Egyptian and Palestinian sides is ongoing to facilitate the trips in both directions during the two days.
On Saturday, the first day, a source said that some 595 traveled to Gaza, and around 726 others arrived in the Egyptian side, including patients, humanitarian cases, students and trucks carrying construction materials, according to Youm7.
Some 76 deported Palestinians were among the travelers who crossed to Gaza Strip on Sunday as they did not hold a visa or residential papers to stay in Egypt.
Some 45 trucks carrying around 4,145 tons of cement have crossed since Saturday to the strip to be used in reconstruction projects in Gaza.
The crossing has been re-operated exceptionally several times to facilitate the return of the Palestinian people. On Dec. 3, the crossing was reopened from the Palestine side and more than 2,000 passengers crossed.
The crossing has largely been closed since the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi amid Egyptian disagreements with Hamas and tense security situation in North Sinai.
Egypt’s closure of the crossing, however, began in 2007 after Hamas took over the strip. President Abdel Fatah al Sisi reiterated that regular opening of the border crossing depends on bringing the management under the Palestinian Authority’s control.