443 stranded Palestinians cross Rafah border
Man asks for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened for two days by Egyptian authorities, in the southern Gaza Strip - REUTERS

CAIRO: A total of 443 Palestinian passengers, including 10 patients, have crossed the Egypt-Gaza border since it re-opened Wednesday to accommodate stranded people on both sides, Youm7 reported  an Egyptian official at the crossing Thursday.

The passengers were stranded in Egyptian Airports waiting for the crossing to open. After the border was re-opened the patients were brought to Egyptian hospitals, the official added, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the media.

Construction goods were allowed to enter into Palestine via the crossing, he continuing, noting that there is coordination with the Palestinian side to finish registration measures for passengers.

Egyptian Authorities re-opened the crossing for two days to allow any stranded people to pass through, after Palestinian President Mohamoud Abbas met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Monday, when they discussed the international efforts to resume the stalled Palestine-Israel peace negotiations, according to a statement from the Palestinian embassy in Cairo Tuesday.

The crossing, largely closed throughout the year, was last open in February for three days. On Feb. 13 alone, some 595 people traveled to Gaza and around 726 people, including patients and students, arrived in Egypt via the crossing. Meanwhile, more than 3,000 Israeli tourists arrived in Egypt’s South Sinai March 26 through the Taba border crossing, Youm7 reported.

The Gaza strip has six crossings with Israel and only Rafah with Egypt. Since 2007, Israel has imposed a blockade on the strip making the Rafah crossing the only entrance gate for the Palestinians. It was briefly opened during the former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s one-year tenure, but closed since his ouster in July 2013 by the military to prevent the infiltration of militants who could target military and security forces in Sinai. Since then, the crossing has been re-opened sporadically.

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