The Egyptian government will reopen the Rafah border crossing, which Cairo has kept closed for about three weeks, reports say. The reopening of the vital crossing with the besieged Gaza Strip is expected to take place on Sunday. The passageway will not be open on a permanent basis, however. Gazans will only be allowed to cross through it three days a week -- on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Cairo closed the crossing following an attack by gunmen in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula near the border with Palestine, which killed 16 Egyptian border security guards and injured several others on August 5.Some 800 people normally leave for Egypt and beyond through the Rafah crossing, the only passageway leading to the rest of the world for most Gazans. Israel imposed an all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade of the Gaza in June 2007 after the democratically-elected Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas took over the administration of the territory. The siege has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the impoverished enclave, having turned the territory into the world’s largest open-air prison. Impoverished Palestinians are forced to use underground tunnels to bring in essential supplies including food, fuel and medicine. The Rafah crossing is the Palestinian territory's only crossing outside Israeli control. MN/JR