Rafah facilities increase number of Palestinians crossing border

Egypt has offered facilities at Rafah border crossing to help Palestinian travelers cross from Gaza to Egypt, Egyptian Ambassador to the Palestinian territories Yasser Osman said Monday, according to state-run news agency MENA.

Osman said that during the past few days, the number of Palestinians crossing the border has increased because of the procedures and allocating enough resources for dealing with urgent problems at the crossing.

Osman said these facilities are intended to support the Palestinian people and to ease the blockade imposed on them.

He said it more facilities are expected to be introduced at the Rafah crossing in the near future.

After the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt adopted a new policy of opening the border daily, except on holidays. Under Mubarak, Egypt only sporadically opened the crossing for food and medicine or to let some people through, mainly those seeking medical treatment or traveling for study.

The border was closed in 2007 after the Hamas movement took control of Gaza, which is home to about 1.5 million Palestinians.

Hamas praised the facilities offered by Egypt to Palestinian travelers crossing through Rafah. It described the increasing number of travelers in recent days as “historic.”

Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil said the increase to 1,500 travelers per day has happened for the first time, adding that the movement did not expect this number.

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