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Egypt briefly opens Rafah border crossing

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinians residing in the besieged Gaza Strip wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened for five days by the Egyptian government, June 29, 2016. (AFP photo)

Egypt has temporarily opened its border with the besieged Gaza Strip to allow the Palestinians with urgent need to cross in and out of the enclave.

Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday and it will remain open until July 4 except on Friday, July 1.

More than 3,000 people left the coastal enclave when Egypt opened the only transit outlet not controlled by the Israeli regime for four days during the first week of June ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

The border crossing was opened for only 21 days throughout 2015, according to the Hamas Interior Ministry based in Gaza. The crossing has been reopened more regularly in 2016.

The photo shows the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip after Egypt opened it for five days, June 29, 2016. (AFP photo)

Gaza has been blockaded by the Israeli regime since 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

Israel denies about 1.8 million people in the besieged Palestinian territory their basic rights, including adequate healthcare and education.

Egypt has kept its border with Gaza largely shut since 2013, following the ouster of the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt says the closure of Rafah will continue as it still suspects that Gaza’s ruling Hamas resistance movement plays a role in assisting militants in Egypt’s volatile Sinai region. Hamas has denied any involvement in the militancy, saying the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seeks to maintain its ties with the Israeli regime through keeping Rafah closed.

Egypt has also destroyed hundreds of Palestinian supply tunnels used mainly to transit much needed commercial goods to Gaza since 2013.

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