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IN PICTURES: Frontier between Egypt and Gaza opens briefly

The closure of the Rafah crossing has prevented supplies and resources reaching the impoverished enclave
People wait at the Gaza-Rafah crossing (Mohammed Asad/MEE)

The Egyptian authorities on Saturday opened the Rafah border crossing, which links the blockaded Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, for a two-day period in both directions.

A Palestinian source who works for Gaza's border authority told Anadolu Agency that the crossing would be opened to limited numbers of Palestinian medical patients, university students and Gazans bearing foreign passports.

A number of Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side of the crossing would also be allowed back into the Gaza Strip, the source added.

Ismail Haniyeh, a leading member of Hamas, which has governed the coastal Palestinian territory since 2007, called on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing on a "permanent basis".

Last week, Egypt’s official news agency announced that the crossing would be opened on 13 and 14 February on the orders of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Since the overthow of elected president Mohamed Morsi in a 2013 military coup led by Sisi, Cairo has for the most part kept the border with the Strip, and its roughly 1.9 million inhabitants, tightly sealed.

Throughout the course of last year, the Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing for only 21 days and to limited traffic, according to data released by Gaza’s interior ministry.

The crossing is Gaza's only point of access to the outside world not under Israeli control.

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