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Egypt closes Gaza crossing

Oct. 27, 2013 7:58 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 28, 2013 10:08 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah land crossing for the second day in a row on Sunday, Palestinian officials said.

The crossing was opened on Friday for Palestinian Hajj pilgrims. Palestinian officials at Rafah said that the Egyptian authorities informed them that the crossing would be closed on Sunday, however.

On Friday, Egypt allowed 1,450 Palestinian Hajj pilgrims to return to the Gaza Strip and 403 other Palestinians were permitted to leave. Among these were students, patients, and other humanitarian cases.

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 the July coup, which deposed president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's army has repeatedly closed the Rafah border crossing and destroyed hundreds of tunnels that Gazans used for years to import fuel, building materials and other goods.

The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza's 1.7 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an economic blockade by the State of 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.

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