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Haniyeh urges Egypt to ease Rafah crossing backlog

July 17, 2011 7:20 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2011 3:42 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh called Sunday for his Egyptian counterpart Essam Sharaf to ease restrictions on travel through the country's sole crossing with the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh also thanked the Egyptian leadership for its role in supporting the Palestinian cause, particularly its sponsorship of a reconciliation agreement with Hamas' Fatah rivals, a letter delivered to Sharaf said.

A delegation to Egypt delivered the letter on Haniyeh's behalf.

Also Sunday, authorities in the Gaza Strip denied reports in Israeli media that Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan intended to visit the coastal enclave despite Israeli objections.

The Hebrew-language daily Maariv said political sources confirmed that Erdogan sought and received approval from Egypt's ruling military council to arrive on July 25.

“We have not being officially notified,” foreign minister in Gaza Muhammad Awad told Ma'an.

According to Maariv, Israel tried to prevent the visit by sending a message to the Egyptian authorities, but their request was denied. Israel views the trip as a boost for Hamas, the daily reported.
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