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Zahhar: Abbas responsible for closure of Rafah crossing

Jan. 22, 2015 7:18 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2015 1:58 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahhar said Thursday that President Abbas was responsible for the closure of the Rafah crossing, criticizing the unity government.

Hamas cannot keep following Abbas' policies, the leader said, especially given the failure of the unity government to commit to any of the terms of the reconciliation agreement.

The Hamas official said former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was against Hamas but never tried to directly fight it.

"During Morsi's rule, our relationship with Egypt was even better. The crossings were open, and the Egyptian Prime Minister visited us during the 2012 Israeli offensive," he said.

"But during the current Egyptian President's rule we live in a state of almost complete closure. Except for one official meeting on Sept. 9, 2014, we only contact Egypt for humanitarian cases."

The jointly-enforced Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the tiny territory has led to frequent humanitarian crises and armed conflicts with Israel, and is currently limiting the entry of construction material for the devastated Strip's post-war reconstruction, promised by the international community.

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 Israeli authorities beginning in 2006-7.
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