Egypt to open Rafah crossing with Gaza for Ramadan

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi attends a military ceremony in the courtyard of the Hotel des Invalides in Paris France on 26 November 2014

Egypt to open Rafah crossing with Gaza for Ramadan

"I instructed concerned agencies to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah border crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan in order to ease the burden on by the brothers in the Gaza Strip", Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi announced on social media late Thursday.

Egypt has relations with both Israel and Gaza rulers Hamas, giving Cairo an instrumental role in easing tensions between the two sides and alleviating the pressure on the territory's 2 million residents.

"I have issued directive to keep Rafah Crossing open during the holy month of Ramadan to alleviate the sufferings of our brothers in Gaza", al-Sisi posted on his official Facebook page.

Ramadan started on May 17 and is expected to end on June 14.

The Rafah crossing is Gaza's main gate to the outside world.




The Erez crossing, the other exit for Gazans, is managed by the Israelis, who put severe limit on the number of people who can pass through it.

Israel sealed four of its commercial crossings with Gaza in mid-2007 after Palestinian resistance movement Hamas wrested control of the strip from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

Many Palestinians injured by Israeli fire in clashes along the Gaza-Israel border have been received by Egypt.

The last extended opening lasted three weeks in 2013, while usually Palestinians are able to cross for a few dozen days a year.

But critics say that amounts to collective punishment of the enclave's residents, 47 percent of whom suffer from food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

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