Israeli Vice-Premier Silvan Shalom has spoken out against the easing of the blockade on Gaza through relaxed restrictions at the Egypt-Gaza crossing at Rafah, according to the Jerusalem Post. Shalom warned that development could lead to groups such as al-Qaeda smuggling weapons into the Palestinian coastal hamlet.

Shalom also called for international monitoring of the crossing, however, Heeratz reports, the European Border Assistance Mission has not as yet received an invitation to return to Rafah from either the Israelis or the PA.

The EU had agreed, in 2005, to monitor the crossing. The mission has been waiting in the Israeli city of Ashkelon since suspending its work in 2007 when Hamas gained control of the West Bank.

An agreement between the PA and Israel would be necessary for EU observers to return to the crossing with the cooperation of Egypt.

The terminal is due to be opened on Saturday and will operate from 9 am to 9 pm except for Fridays according to Egyptian state broadcaster MENA.