Egypt, in goodwill test for Hamas, reopens border crossing at Rafah

by WorldTribune Staff, June 2, 2016

In a good faith gesture ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Egypt on June 1 temporarily reopened the Rafah border crossing at Gaza.

Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing. /Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90
Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing. /Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

The crossing has been all but sealed off since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014 in which Egypt said Hamas jihadists provided the weapons for the attack which killed 30 security personnel. Hamas denied it provided the weapons through one of the many smuggling tunnels linking Gaza and Sinai.

Hamas leaders have however sought to make amends with Egypt in recent months, and a delegation headed by Hamas political bureau member Mousa Abu Marzook recently held talks in Cairo aimed at normalizing relations.

Following Marzook’s visit, reports said that Hamas agreed to Egypt’s demands that it would not interfere in Egyptian affairs, will supervise and control the borders with Gaza and stop jihadists in Gaza and from infiltrating Egypt.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, said the crossing was to remain open for four days. Hamas says more than 15,000 Gazans have applied to enter Egypt, but only a few hundred can cross per day.

Last month, Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing for two days.