Palestinians arrive from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 18, 2011. Egypt reopened Friday the Rafah border crossing to allow stranded Palestinians to return to the enclave after 23-day closure since the outbreak of anti-government protests that has swept Egypt since Jan. 25. (Xinhua/Khaled Omar)
CAIRO, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian authorities reopened the Rafah crossing on its border with the Gaza Stripe on Friday, the first time after the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's state MENA news agency reported.
The Rafah crossing will be open only on Friday and Saturday to allow Palestinians stranded in Egypt to return home in the Gaza Strip, as well as humanitarian materials, the report said.
An official source said that the border crossing in north Sinai will open at local time 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) to 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Friday and 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) to 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Saturday.
Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip earlier urged Egypt to reopen the crossing, which had been closed since the nationwide anti- regime protests started in Egypt three weeks ago.
The crossing was once closed after Hamas took over Gaza by force in 2007. It remained closed until June 2010, when Egypt opened it after Israel's deadly attack on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla.