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Rafah crossing to open Tuesday after Hamas, Egypt deal

June 18, 2012 7:11 P.M. (Updated: June 19, 2012 4:35 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Hamas and Egyptian authorities have reached a deal to re-open the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday, a Hamas statement from Gaza said.

The Rafah crossing in the south of Gaza has been closed since Thursday while Egypt votes in presidential elections, a Ma'an correspondent said.

The border was originally scheduled to open after voting finished on Sunday night, but on Monday it remained sealed and Egyptian authorities said it would stay closed on Tuesday.

Hamas petitioned Egypt and the border will now open to enable pilgrims from the coastal enclave to return home, the ruling party in Gaza said.

Palestinians from the Gaza Strip told Ma'an on Sunday they were stranded abroad as Egypt refused to admit them while it votes in the final stage of its presidential election.

Rafah crossing is the only gateway to the outside world for residents of the Gaza Strip amid Israel's closure of the territory.

It was shut in 2006 under Israel and Egypt's blockade of the enclave, but reopened in May 2011, three months after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted by 18 days of massive street protests against his rule.
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