Egypt opens Rafah crossing for stranded Palestinians
Egyptian authorities on Sunday opened the borders with the Gaza Strip in Rafah town to allow movement of Palestinians stranded on both sides, the Palestinian interior ministry said, Xinhua reported.
The ministry added that at least 3,000 Palestinians have applied to travel from Gaza, adding that most of them were patients, students and holders of foreign passports and residency permits in other countries.
A statement by the ministry, updated regularly on its website, said that the travelers and patients were being sent to the Egyptian side of the crossing via buses and ambulances.
The only crossing for the Gazans will remain open for three days, the ministry said, adding that Egypt has opened the terminal exceptionally for the humanitarian cases.
Palestinians returning to Gaza can also cross until Tuesday evening.
To keep the crossing open, Hamas, which controls Gaza, must allow security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas to deploy on the crossing since a U.S.-brokered protocol says that the crossing can not work without pro-Abbas forces and monitors from the EU.
In 2007, Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized control of the coastal Strip. Since then, Abbas has been based in the West Bank and Rafah closed except for brief openings on monthly basis.