Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Thursday and Friday, allowing movement of “humanitarian cases” in both directions, according to Egyptian state-owned media. The movements come as tensions are reported along the Palestinian side of the border.
About 1,500 Palestinians passed through the Rafah crossing in both directions, state-owned media reported, while 1,600 tonnes of aid donated by Egypt and several Arab states for reconstruction efforts was transferred into Gaza.
The first day of the opening witnessed the passage of 647 “stranded” Palestinians in both directions, including 65 workers and expatriates passing through Egypt from abroad.
Palestinian news agencies reported disturbances on the Palestinian side of the border on the second day of its opening. Hundreds gathered at the border gates, expressing their irritation at the slowness of entry procedures.
Palestinian police attempted to control the rising tensions as accusations of favouritism and bribery were directed against Palestinian group Hamas, which controls passage through the border crossing.
The Egyptian authorities, however, denied the storming of the crossing, as reported earlier by the Palestinian Interior Ministry, according to Egyptian state-owned media.
Hamas has controlled access to the Rafah border crossing since it assumed power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, when it won the parliamentary elections, defeating the then-ruling Fatah party.
Maan news agency reported that Palestinian activists and journalists launched a social-media campaign on Friday, demanding that Hamas hand over control of the crossing to the Palestinian Authority.