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Rafah crossing shut for second day in a row

Nov. 23, 2013 5:22 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 24, 2013 3:11 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities shut down Rafah crossing for the second day in a row after opening it to traffic for two days.

Egyptian authorities closed off the crossing on Thursday evening after a few passengers were able to leave.

Thousands of Palestinians remain waiting for it to re-open so they can cross.

Hamas officials in Gaza explained that they are making calls with Egyptian officials in an effort to reopen it.

Earlier this month, Gaza government officials said that they were concerned about the closure of the crossing, accusing the Egyptian side of tightening the blockade on the Gaza Strip and worsening the humanitarian situation.

The Gaza government also called on Arab and regional countries to intervene and find a solution to this crisis, denouncing Egypt's "disregard for the lives of the Palestinian people," and pleading for the immediate re-opening of the crossing.

Gaza has been almost entirely without fuel for weeks, and the resulting shut down of the Strip's main power plant and water pumping facilities have led to widespread blackouts and water rationing.

The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza's 1.7 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an economic blockade by Israel beginning in 2007.

Rafah has frequently been shut down or operating at reduced capacity in recent months due to ongoing unrest in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and political tensions resulting from former president Mohamed Morsi's ouster by the Egyptian military in July.
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