RAFAH, Egypt, Oct. 17 (UPI) — Egypt announced it temporarily reopened the Rafah crossing for two days to allow Palestinians to enter or leave the Gaza Strip, and plans to do so a second time later this week.
The Egyptian government reopened the Rafah crossing on the south side of the Gaza Strip to allow students, people with work permits and humanitarian cases for two days and will do so for four more days later this week.
Following Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s rise to power, the crossing the mostly closed in 2013 amid concerns that the ruling Palestinian political party, Hama, is an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization by Egyptian officials in 2013.
The crossing has opened several times in the last few years for a few days, however, with the most recent coming in August when Palestinians looking to travel to Saudi Arabia for the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
Before that, the crossing had been opened in late June and early July for five days, during which 4,581 people crossed the border — 2,961 exits from Gaza to Egypt and 1,620 entries from Egypt to Gaza. At the time, only medical patients, registered students, people with foreign passports and those with special conditions were permitted through.
The crossing will be open this week for two days, before closing and reopening on Wednesday, when it will be open until Saturday.