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Rafah crossing to open for 3 days for Palestinians going on Hajj pilgrimage

Aug. 27, 2016 1:17 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2016 6:44 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities are set to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip for three days on Tuesday to allow Palestinians to cross for the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The director for the Palestinian side of Rafah crossing, Hisham Adwan, told Ma’an that Egyptian authorities informed him that the crossing would be open from Tuesday until Thursday to allow Palestinians who are planning on doing the Hajj pilgrimage to cross.

The Rafah crossing has only been opened by Egyptian authorities on a sporadic basis in recent years, leaving Palestinians stranded on both sides of the crossing, some of whom continue to be in dire need of medical services outside of the besieged enclave.

Egypt has upheld an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip for the majority of the past three years, since the ouster of President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 and the rise to power of Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt.

The nearly nine-year Israeli blockade has plunged the Gaza Strip’s more than 1.8 million Palestinians into poverty. The destruction from three Israeli offensives over the past six years and slow reconstruction due to the blockade led the UN to warn that Gaza could be “uninhabitable” by 2020.

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