Rafah border crossing open for humanitarian cases

The Interior Ministry of the dismissed Hamas government said in a brief press statement posted on its website on Thursday that the Rafah border crossing with Egypt is open for humanitarian cases, patients, students and bearers of residencies and foreign passports.

Witnesses said traffic through the Egyptian crossing was very slow, with only 100 people since the morning until noon.

Before the mass demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsy, whom the army overthrew on Wednesday evening, passage through the Rafah crossing was between 1,000 and 1,200 people.

The Hamas Public Administration of Border Crossings said Egypt does not want to close the Rafah crossing so as to avoid a global media hive, but would not allow large numbers to cross.

The administration also said it is difficult for young people to cross, as the Egyptian authorities only allow the elderly and families to enter, but expected traffic would be normal once the security situation improves in Egypt.

The tunnels on the border between Egypt and Gaza have been closed for 10 days, creating shortages of goods, especially fuel and cement.

The Egyptian army has intensified presence on the border with the Gaza Strip, in light of the political crisis in Egypt and the mass demonstrations against the Muslim Brotherhood that has close ties with Hamas. Palestinian and Israeli sources claim this military maneuver was coordinated with Israel.

Abu Mohamed, owner of a tunnel, said the Egyptian army bulldozers demolished a number of tunnels on Thursday. “They have been doing so for a week,” he said.