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Rafah crossing opens for limited travel

Oct. 12, 2013 11:19 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 13, 2013 12:05 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Egyptian security authorities decided to open the Rafah land crossing on Saturday for passengers traveling back and forth from Egypt to Gaza.

The crossing operated only for humanitarian cases, ill people and students. Some 403 people were able to cross, and Egypt allowed 50 cement trucks to enter Gaza.

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

After a July coup deposing president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's army has repeatedly closed the border crossing and destroyed hundreds of tunnels that Gazans used for years.

The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza's 1.8 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an economic blockade by Israel beginning in 2007.

The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.

On Tuesday, 300 Palestinians were allowed to travel outside of Gaza through the land crossing after Egyptian authorities briefly re-opened it for humanitarian cases, an official said.
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