Egypt opens the Rafah crossing in both directions

Egyptian authorities today opened the Rafah border crossing “exceptionally” in both directions to allow “humanitarian cases” and stranded passengers through.

Thousands of passengers, including hundreds of pilgrims, gathered in the waiting hall on the Palestinian side of the crossing, as buses began to cross the Gaza-Egypt border.

The spokesman of the crossings authority in the Gaza Strip, Hisham Adwan, told the Anadolu Agency: “The Rafah crossing has been opened for the third day in a row to allow pilgrims passage; in addition to this, a number of humanitarian cases are being allowed out of the Gaza Strip and stranded Palestinians are being allowed to return.”

Adwan pointed out that the Egyptian authorities informed them that the crossing will open today and tomorrow.

The closure of the Rafah crossing for the past five months has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis for passengers, Adwan explained, urging Egypt to reopen the crossing permanently.

The Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only lifeline to the outside world, has been closed almost since the military coup in Egypt ousted the country’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.