GAZA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on Egypt to reopen the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip after six days of closure, according to official news agency Wafa.
Abbas discussed issue, which affected students, patients and humanitarian workers, with Mohamed Tuhami, chief of the Egyptian security intelligence services, who promised to solve the problem within a few days.
Earlier in the day, dozens of Palestinian students stranded in the Hamas-controlled enclave demonstrated outside the sealed-off Rafah crossing, demanding Egypt reopen it.
The border crossing is kept closed due to violence and instability in the Sinai Peninsula. Last Wednesday, Egypt shut it down after a deadly car bomb explosion at a military intelligence facility on its side of Rafah town.
Beside the closure of the crossing, the Egyptian army destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels underneath the borderline between Egypt and Gaza, dealing a blow to Hamas' financial lifeline.
In his visit to Cairo in July, Abbas said he was ready to reactivate the 2005 international protocol, which allows the crossing to remain permanently open under the presence of the Palestinian presidential guard and EU monitors.
The Palestinian National Authority led by Abbas ruled the crossing until Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza in June 2007.
However, Hamas refuses to reactivate the protocol, stressing that the crossing should be run by Palestinians and Egypt only.
Since the Egyptian military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, the Rafah crossing had been operating at less than half of its capacity. Egypt limited inbound travelers to only humanitarian workers, medical patients, dual-nationals, students and people with residency permits in other countries.
Maher Abu Sabha, chief of border and crossing affairs in the Hamas government, said around 1,200 passengers used to cross Rafah daily before July, but after that, the working time at the crossing dropped to four hours and the number of passengers dropped to 300 people.