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Egyptian authorities open Rafah border crossing for three days

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 gather at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on April 12, 2018 as they wait to travel into Egypt after the passage was opened for three days for humanitarian cases. (Photo by AFP)

Egypt has allowed the opening of the Rafah crossing with the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip for three days after several weeks of closure, Palestinian authorities say.

The Interior Ministry in Gaza said on Thursday that the Rafah crossing to Egypt's Sinai region would be open until Saturday for humanitarian cases.

Media reports said a first busload of 70 people, including women and children, crossed on Thursday morning.

The Palestinian embassy in Cairo earlier confirmed in a statement that the crossing, which is crucial to deliver aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip, would remain open in both directions for three days as of Thursday.

It has been a routine for Egypt over the past 10 years to keep Rafah closed in what many call Cairo’s alignment with Israel against the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas. 

Figures show several thousands of people are on the waiting list to find the chance to travel across Rafah.

Palestinians bid farewell in the southern Gaza Strip on April 12, 2018, as they prepare to travel into Egypt after the Rafah border crossing was opened for three days for humanitarian cases. (Photo by AFP)

The latest opening comes ahead of a third consecutive Friday of planned mass protests against the Tel Aviv regime along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.   

More than 30 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded by Israeli forces since March 30 as thousands have approached the fence and clashes have erupted.

Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Tel Aviv has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including the 2014 offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.

The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.

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