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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:38, August 06, 2006
Key Gaza crossing fails to reopen despite agreement
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The Rafah crossing on the border between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt failed to reopen on Saturday despite an agreement reached between the Palestinians and Israel.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters that the crossing would not be reopened for the time being due to an ongoing Israeli military operation in the Rafah area.

The Israeli army still blockaded a main highway that leads to the crossing while pressing ahead a major incursion in the Rafah area aimed to search for and destroy possible tunnels used by Palestinian militants to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip and mount attacks against Israel.

On Friday, Erekat announced that the Rafah crossing would open on Saturday and Sunday for Palestinians to enter Egypt.

The announcement came after Palestinian, Israeli and Egyptian officials agreed at a late Friday night meeting to reopen the crossing. European Union (EU) monitors, who are inspecting the terminal, also attended the meeting.

The Rafah crossing, the only gateway for Palestinians to travel in and out of the Gaza Strip, has remained shut since Palestinian militants killed two Israeli soldiers and kidnapped a third during a cross-border raid on June 25.

It was opened for one day last month for Palestinians stranded at the Egyptian side of the crossing to enter the Gaza Strip.

Israel has sealed the Gaza Strip since the deadly Palestinian militant attack which sparked a massive Israeli offensive in the Strip.

Palestinian officials and humanitarian agencies have warned of a humanitarian disaster in the desert coastal strip from which Israel withdrew last summer.

Source: Xinhua

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