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Egypt to reopen Rafah border crossing: Palestinian diplomat


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A Palestinian diplomat says Egyptian officials have pledged to reopen the Rafah border crossing with the besieged Gaza Strip in the near future. "There are Egyptian assurances that the crossing will reopen soon," Barakat al-Farra, the Palestinian ambassador to Egypt, said on Sunday. He however did not give a specific date for the reopening of the border crossing. Farra added that traveling will remain restricted to humanitarian cases, holders of foreign passports, and students "until the situation in Sinai improves." On September 11, Egyptian authorities shut down Rafah border crossing following deadly bomb attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula. Eleven people, including seven civilians, were killed and 17 others injured in two car bomb attacks targeting the headquarters of Egyptian security forces in Rafah's Imam Ali (AS) area in North Sinai. The Rafah crossing is Gaza's sole gateway to the outside world as many people in the blockaded Palestinian coastal enclave avoid traveling through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing in northern Gaza. Egyptian military has tightened the restriction in Rafah and created hardships for Gazans in the aftermath of former Egyptian president, Mohammad Morsi's ouster. Gazans argue that the closure of the Rafah crossing has increased their suffering and will leave them at the mercy of the Israeli-controlled crossing. Israel imposed an all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade on the Gaz in June 2007 after the democratically-elected Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, took over the administration of the territory.



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