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Egypt closes Rafah crossing after allowing Palestinians to enter Gaza for 4 days

May 9, 2017 8:38 P.M. (Updated: May 9, 2017 10:26 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities sealed the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening after four consecutive days of allowing Palestinians to return to Gaza from Egypt.

The Borders and Crossings Committee said in a statement that a total of 3,068 Palestinians were able to enter the Gaza Strip from Egypt during the previous four days, adding that 832 Palestinians entered on Saturday, 1,458 on Sunday, 695 on Monday, and 83 on Tuesday.

Egyptian authorities also allowed dozens of truckloads of goods and several new vehicles into the Gaza Strip, the statement said.

Egyptian authorities announced their decision to open the crossing on Thursday, saying that the order came at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi.

Initially planned to be a three-day opening for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Egyptian authorities later announced that the opening was extended and Palestinians would be allowed to enter Gaza from Egypt on Tuesday as well.

Egypt has upheld an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip since the ousting of former President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 and the rise to power of al-Sisi in Egypt.

While the Egyptian border has remained the main lifeline for Gazans to the outside world, Egyptian authorities have slowly sealed off movement through the border since Morsi was toppled by the Egyptian army.

Due to the constraints on Palestinian movement through the crossing, many Gazans are commonly barred from leaving or entering the besieged coastal enclave, some for months at a time, as the crossing is only periodically opened by Egyptian authorities, stranding Palestinians on both sides of the crossing during closures.
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