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Abbas asks Egypt to facilitate Gaza travel

Sept. 16, 2013 3:31 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 17, 2013 3:36 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday phoned the chief of Egyptian intelligence and asked him to allow students, sick people, and humanitarian cases to travel through the Rafah crossing.

Mohammad Tuhami responded with a promise to allow those cases to exit the besieged coastal enclave in the coming days, according to officials at Abbas' office.

Also Monday, dozens of Palestinian students protested in front of the Rafah crossing demanding that Egyptian authorities reopen the border terminal.

Students held signs demanding that officials allow access to students studying in Egypt.

Momen Broud, a student representative, told Ma'an that the future of dozens of students had been destroyed by the closure of Rafah and the difficulty in reaching Egyptian universities to sit exams.

On Saturday, Palestinian ambassador to Egypt Barakat al-Farra urged students enrolled in Egyptian universities to send their details to the embassy in Cairo so that arrangements could be made to obtain special permits.

The ambassador told Ma'an that his team would contact Egyptian universities to try to delay exams for Palestinian students who were not able to cross into the country.

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing on Wednesday after a car bomb exploded outside Egyptian intelligence headquarters in Sinai.

There have been frequent closures of the terminal in recent weeks due to political unrest in Egypt and violence in the Sinai peninsula.

The crossing is the only way most Palestinians in Gaza can enter or leave the territory. Israel imposes an air and sea blockade on the enclave, and its border is closed to Palestinians.
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