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Egypt to lift restrictions on Gaza border

May 25, 2011 9:35 P.M. (Updated: May 27, 2011 12:14 P.M.)
CAIRO (AFP) -- Egypt will open the Rafah border crossing on a daily basis starting this weekend in a bid to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip, the official MENA news agency reported Wednesday.

Egyptian authorities will now open the border from "9:00 am to 5:00 pm on a daily basis, except for Fridays and public holidays" starting Saturday, May 28, MENA said.

Egypt will revert to entry rules for Palestinians in place before the blockade was imposed in 2007.

"Palestinian women of all ages will be exempted from visas as will men under 18 or over 40," MENA said.

The exemption also applies to Palestinians entering Egypt for study as long as they have proof of affiliation to an Egyptian university, MENA said.

Although Egypt had been gradually easing restrictions on the Gaza border -- it had been operating five days a week -- Palestinians needed to coordinate with security authorities before entering Egypt.

The Rafah border with Egypt is Gaza's only crossing that bypasses Israel.
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