Egypt opens Rafah border crossing with Gaza ‘until further notice

Egypt on Tuesday opened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip until further notice, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said, a move described as an incentive for reconciliation between the main Palestinian factions, meeting in Cairo, Reuters reported.

 The 365-sq km (141-sq mile) Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, is home to around 2 million Palestinians. An Israeli-led blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods for years.

Egypt had been opening the Rafah crossing for only a few days at a time to allow stranded travellers to pass.

The crossing was opened early on Tuesday and a bus carrying Palestinians arrived in Egypt, two Egyptian sources at the crossing said.

Rafah will remain open “until further notice,” one source at the checkpoint and an Egyptian security source said.

The Palestinian embassy in Cairo said Egypt had decided to open the crossing as a result of “intensive and bilateral talks between the Palestinian and Egyptian leaderships to facilitate the passage of Palestinians to and from the Gaza Strip.”

Palestinian sources attending the Cairo talks said they had been told by Egyptian intelligence officials that the move was designed to create a better atmosphere at the negotiations.

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