Rafah crossing reopened after 4 days of Hamas-Egypt rift   2011-06-08 17:53:51 FeedbackPrintRSS

GAZA, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Rafah crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt was reopened Wednesday after four days of closure due to differences between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Egypt.

The central point of the differences was that those who left Gaza passed the crossing slowly, Hamas said, blaming Egypt for delaying the passes and turning back dozens of travelers.

Hundreds of travelers headed to the border crossing Wednesday morning, amid complaints that the number of Gazans who applied to pass the crossing was in thousands.

The Hamas authorities said people who were scheduled to travel last week would be leaving Wednesday.

Ayoub Abu Sha'ar, a Hamas official, said Hamas and Egypt had reached an agreement to resolve problems that emerged when Egypt opened the crossing permanently last week.

Sources in Hamas said Egypt pledged to let more than 500 passengers to leave Gaza every day.

In 2005, after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, the United States brokered an international agreement to open the crossing, with the deployment of the European Union (EU) monitors as a third party and the presence of forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to control the crossing.

After Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized Gaza in June 2007, the EU monitors withdrew and Israel imposed the closure on the strip to weaken Hamas. Hosni Mubarak, then Egyptian president, cooperated with Israel and kept the crossing mostly closed.

In June 2010, Mubarak opened the crossing on regular basis, but traveling conditions were still difficult.

When Egypt opened the crossing last week, it said all women and males aged over 40 years old or under 18 can travel freely without any procedure in advance.

The new Egyptian facilitation were praised by the Hamas as a big step in breaking the Israeli restrictions.

Special Report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts

Editor: Tang Danlu
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