Egypt Reopens Border Crossing With Gaza

GAZA (Reuters) -

Egypt reopened its border crossing with the Gaza Strip over the weekend after four days of closure, allowing stranded passengers to cross in and out of the Palestinian territory that is controlled by Hamas.

Thousands of Palestinians, including students and patients seeking medical treatment, have been unable to travel to Egypt since the Rafah border crossing was shut and hundreds wanting to return home have been stranded outside the Gaza Strip.

Due to security concerns, Israel allows only a small number of Gazans through its land crossing with the territory, mainly for medical treatment.

Maher Abu Sabha, the Hamas-appointed director of crossing, said Egyptian authorities were opening the Rafah crossing for only a few hours a day. He said travellers needing medical care abroad and others with time constraints would get priority.

Hamas officials have complained that Egypt has limited the number of passengers from 1,200 a day to only 300 since July 3 when the Egyptian military dismissed Mursi, following mass protests against his rule.

Egyptian officials have accused Hamas of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood in the Sinai peninsula and say the slow operation of crossing is linked to poor security conditions there, where Egypt is fighting Islamist terrorists.