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Hamas requests opening Rafah crossing for humanitarian cases

Aug. 8, 2015 6:41 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 8, 2015 8:28 P.M.)
(MaanImages)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- The Hamas-run Ministry of the Interior in the Gaza Strip on Saturday sent an urgent request to the Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing and allow humanitarian cases to exit the beleaguered coastal enclave.

Iyad al-Buzm, a spokesperson for the ministry, said in a statement that conditions in Gaza represent a "humanitarian catastrophe," with up to 20,000 humanitarian cases and thousands of other Palestinians waiting to leave the territory.

He warned that the continued closure of the border crossing into Egypt threatens the lives of hundreds of patients with cancer and heart and lung-related illnesses, who are in urgent need of operations.

He said that it also threatens the future of thousands of students and holders of foreign passports.

Al-Buzm said that the Egyptian authorities have only opened the Rafah crossing for 15 days since the beginning of this year.

Egypt opened the crossing for one week in June, a rare exception for the border terminal which has otherwise been virtually sealed by Egypt since October 2014.

Thousands of medical patients, students, and foreign residents used the crossing during the week.

Egyptian security forces said at the time that Egyptian President Abd Al-Fattah al-Sisi was planning to open the crossing more regularly, although there has been no indication of that since.

The Rafah crossing is the primary lifeline to the outside world for Gaza's 1.8 million residents, but has severely restricted by the Egyptian authorities in the past year, largely due to a militant insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

The Egyptian government has in the past accused Hamas of assisting the insurgency, although Hamas denies the allegations.

Egypt has done little to alleviate Israel's eight-year blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has severely restricted imports and exports into the territory and denied Gazans freedom of movement.
Comments
Luzer / USA
Egypt does not want the poison that flows from Gaza to enter it's society you can't blame them. The Palestinians use Egypt as a base for smuggling weapons drugs and all types of contraband and Egypt is tired of hearing it's false promises and propaganda every day.
09/08/2015 11:12
Florence / UK
One would hope that security prevailing, Egypt might see its way fit to open Rafah more often to help those is dire need. @Luzer, your comment is rich coming from the USA, but then maybe that's why the name fits.
10/08/2015 22:26
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