Egyptian authorities continue to block Rafah crossing for the fifth day in a row, now, following a recent attack by armed militants in the Sinai desert.A deadly assault occured in the region, this past Friday, in which some 33 Egyptian soldiers were killed, causing the border to be closed and delaying further truce negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian delegations until mid-November.
A number of Gazans injured in this summer’s devastating Israeli assault on the region, along with students and other Palestinian residents in Egypt, implored Egyptian authorities to open the crossing for them, that they might reunite with their families, PNN reports.
Palestinians stuck at Rafah crossing said that they strongly denounced the killing of the Egyptian soldiers, paying condolences to the passed families.
Despite suspicion against Gazans, Friday’s attacks reportedly bore the marks of other attacks claimed by Egypt’s most active militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The hindered travellers reiterated that the goal of this act was to ruin the relationships between Egypt and Palestine, leaving Israel satisfied.
Jamal Khudari, head of the People’s Committee Against the Siege and former minister of telecommunications and information technology, demanded the opening of all commercial crossings for Gaza, in order that construction materials and trade with the besieged coastal enclave continue.
Mr. Khudari added that the closing of the crossing is most dangerous and harmful for the Palestinian exonomy, as the Israeli occupation has already closed down the crossings of Al-Mintar, Al-Shijaiyya and Sooqa entirely. Though a partial crossing was opened for goods and people, exportation is banned and importation is subject to restriction.
Al-Khudari reasserted that the closure of the crossing will contribute to spread unemployment and poverty, having already closed down 82% of Gaza factories.
He added that the closure was a collective punishment on two million people innocent of Friday’s attacks on Sinai, tightening an already crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip.
The opening of crossings is but one of several items on the list of demands by Hamas, to secure a lasting truce with Israel. Other key demands, such as the freeing of Palestinian prisoners and that of a regional air and sea port, have yet to be negotiated.
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