Thousands of Gazans cross as Egypt keeps key border crossing open

21:43, June 04, 2010      

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by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly

Egypt has on Friday kept Rafah crossing on its borders with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip open for the third consecutive day, and thousands of Gaza Strip residents had crossed to Egypt.

Egypt had on Tuesday suddenly decided to open Rafah terminal in two directions following Arab and Palestinian pressure to ease the more than three-year Israeli blockade imposed on the impoverished enclave right after Hamas seized control in June 2007.

The sudden reopening of Rafah crossing came a day after the Israeli naval forces attacked the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla, which was carrying campaigners from around 40 countries as well as medical aid and construction materials. Israel seized the flotilla and expelled the campaigners.

"In spite of the trauma the population suffered after the Freedom Flotilla was seized, they expressed happiness and satisfaction after the Egyptian decision to reopen the Rafah border crossing in two directions until a further notice," said Sami Muhana, a Gaza resident who traveled to Egypt on Friday.

Official Egyptian sources announced that reopening the crossing was decided to allow humanitarian and medical aid into the Gaza Strip, in addition to receiving patients who need urgent medical treatment in hospitals abroad and students who need to resume their education in Egypt.

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