Hamas Calls on Egypt to Permanently Open Border Crossing
Gaza, August 10 (RHC)-- Egyptian authorities have opened one side of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza on Friday to allow Umra pilgrims coming from Saudi Arabia to return to Gaza. According to sources in Gaza, the pilgrims will be allowed to cross into Gaza through Rafah in cooperation with the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo.
The head of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas in Gaza had urged Egypt on Thursday to open the vital border crossing, closed since gunmen killed 16 Egyptian guards in neighboring Sinai on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Ismail Haniyeh pledged his support for Egypt's investigations of the attack, which has led to the biggest Egyptian military assault in the Sinai Peninsula in nearly 40 years. He said that "Gaza could never be anything but a source of stability for Egypt," saying those responsible for the Sinai slayings were conspiring to tighten an Israeli blockade on Gaza in force since Hamas assumed control of the territory in 2007.
Gaza's Islamist rulers have ruled out suggestions that Palestinian gunmen took part in the Sinai massacre, and have criticized Cairo for imposing "collective punishment" on the impoverished coastal enclave.
The Rafah crossing normally sees some 800 people a day leave for Egypt and beyond, and is the only window on the world for the vast majority of Gazans.