In a surprise move, Egypt early Thursday opened the Rafiach crossing between Sinai and Gaza. The crossing has been closed for nearly three months.
According to Egyptian officials, some 30,000 Gaza residents are expected to cross into Sinai. The crossing will be opened only through Saturday morning. Along with residents, hundreds of merchants are seeking to cross onto either side to buy and sell goods.
Commerce and human exchange between Sinai and Gaza has dropped to next to nothing in recent months. Egyptian soldiers have discovered the entrances to numerous smuggling tunnels built by Hamas into Sinai, and have flooded them.
Meanwhile, Arab residents of areas under control of the Palestinian Authority are not permitted to enter Israeli cities through Sunday morning. The ban began midnight Tuesday, covering Memorial Day and Israel Independence Day, along with the upcoming weekend.