CAIRO: The Egypt-Gaza border crossing of Rafah was closed early Monday after it opening for four consecutive days, during which hundreds of travelers crossed in both directions, Youm7 reported.
On the last day, Sunday, the border received 1,321 travelers; 1,101 arrived in Egypt and 220 left for the Gaza Strip. Those who crossed the border were Palestinian patients, passengers, students, and dual citizens.
The border also witnessed dozens of trucks loaded with construction tools and materials sent by the Egyptian Arab Contractors Co. crossing into the strip.
An official source at the border told Youm7 that the crossing was operated on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; the source added on condition of anonymity that the border was closed indefinitely at exactly at 12 a.m. Monday.
The crossing was opened upon instructions from Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, after his latest meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas, said a statement by the Palestinian embassy in Cairo.
Sisi and Abbas met on May 9, and discussed a means of reviving the stalled peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Both sides agreed to re-open the border for two days on May 11 and 12.
During the two- day opening, 742 people crossed into Egypt while 1,217 crossed back to Gaza. A total of 21 Palestinian prisoners who served terms in Egypt were extradited to the authorities in Gaza, Youm7 reported May 13. Meanwhile, forty trucks loaded with construction materials and food goods crossed into Gaza.
The crossing was only opened exceptionally a few times since a major militant attack in North Sinai’s Sheikh Zuwayed that killed some 27 military personnel in October 2014. The Egyptian authorities have said in a number of occasions that Hamas is implicated in the attacks.
The Gaza Strip has six border crossings with Israel and the Rafah crossing is the only entrance gate for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since Israel imposed a blockade on the strip in 2007. Many Palestinians are stranded at Egyptian airports and other Palestinian patients are in Gaza waiting for the border to reopen in order to receive medical care in Egyptian hospitals.