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Rafah crossing closed for second day in a row

Dec. 28, 2013 11:45 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2013 6:25 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing on Saturday for the second day in a row, a Palestinian official said.

After being open from Tuesday through Thursday in an exceptional case, the crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has now been closed two days in a row, the Gaza government's Director of Border Crossings Mahir Abu Sabha told Ma'an.

Sabha said his department was trying to convince Egyptian officials to open the Rafah crossing for as long as possible, in order to ease the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.

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

After former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July by the military, Egypt has repeatedly closed the Rafah border crossing and destroyed hundreds of tunnels that Gazans had used for years to bring in 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 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 Gaza residents.
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