Egypt's Sisi orders Gaza border opened for Ramadan: Twitter account

Rafah Border Crossing

Egypt president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered on Thursday to keep the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip open during the whole month of Ramadan. "Not only will Rafah's extended opening contribute to de-escalating the explosive atmosphere in the Strip, it will also help ease the humanitarian burden on Palestinians in Gaza". Previously, Egypt would open the crossing for three consecutive days from time to time, allowing only medical patients, students and those with permits for Egypt to cross.

The protest escalated Monday as the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem.The demonstrators charged fences separating Gaza from Israel, tearing down sections of the wire barrier and throwing rocks.

"In order to alleviate the burden of our brothers in the Gaza Strip, I have instructed the relevant authorities to open the Rafah border gate throughout Ramadan", al-Sisi said on his Facebook page.

In 2007, Hamas wrested control of Gaza by force, provoking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade that severely restricted the movement of most of Gaza's 2 million inhabitants. Hamas leader Ismail Haniya was in Egypt on Sunday, where he met with the director of the country's intelligence services Abbas Kamel, AFP reported.

But critics say that amounts to collective punishment of the enclave's residents, 47 percent of whom suffer from food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

An emergency summit of the world's main pan-Islamic body, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, will be held in Istanbul on Friday.

The importance of Rafah border crossing increased after Israeli forces destroyed the Yasser Arafat International Airport in 2001; which was the only airport allowing Palestinians to travel.

At an Israeli checkpoint early on Friday, Palestinians were crossing from the West Bank town of Bethlehem to the first weekly prayers of Ramadan at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.



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