Egypt temporarily reopens Rafah border crossing

Egypt reopened the Rafah border crossing for several hours on Wednesday in order to enable Palestinians to either leave or return to Gaza.
 
The crossing had been closed for five consecutive days. It represents the only exit for Palestinians, whose population is estimated to be 1.7 million, and it is operated by Hamas, which has strong ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Morsy.
 
On Friday, Egyptian authorities decided to close the border in the aftermath of Morsy’s ouster.
 
The crossing was closed following a series of clashes and protests, as well as the killing of an Egyptian soldier in an attack by unknown gunmen who fired shots at the military and police in Sinai, according to an Egyptian source.
 
Palestinian Maan news agency quoted a security source as saying that the closure was preventing thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of pilgrims, from returning home. The source added that Egyptian authorities have banned Palestinians from flying to Cairo.
 
The tunnels spread along the border between Egypt and Gaza have been closed for ten days, which has created a shortage in basic materials and goods, especially fuel and cement.
 
In a statement issued by Hamas at the end of a cabinet meeting Tuesday, the party said that it was happy that the border was temporarily reopened but stressed that more must be done.  Hamas requests that the crossing be reopened permanently, asking that the Egyptian government consider the suffering this closure is causing.