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article imageRafah crossing into Gaza Strip closed once again

By Ken Hanly     Aug 19, 2013 in World
Rafah - Following a deadly attack by militants that killed 24 police, Egypt has closed the Rafah border crossing. The crossing is the only way out of the Gaza strip for most Palestinians. It is the only crossing that is not through Israel.
Only last week, Egypt said it would close the crossing indefinitely. However, it partially reopened on Saturday according to the Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza. Militants targeted police in two buses from the town of Rafah using rocket-propelled grenades. This was the deadliest attack in years surpassing an attack in August of 2012 that killed 16 soldiers. The Egyptian Interior Ministry said. The ministry blamed "armed terrorist groups" for the attack.
The crossing has been closed often since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi as president. The level of militant violence in the Sinai has increased as well. The Egyptian government was deporting Palestinians at the Cairo airport who were trying to return to Gaza. They were being flown back to the countries from which they had come at their own expense.
There are many tunnels from Egypt to the Gaza Strip through which supplies pass into the Gaza Strip. However, many of the tunnels have been destroyed since July of 2013, by the Egyptian Army after the July 3, coup that ousted Morsi's pro-Hamas government. The effect has been that in the Gaza Strip "prices have soared, shelves are empty, utilities have suspended operations for lack of fuel and travel is restricted once again". In May of 2011 Egypt had opened the Rafah crossing allowing many Palestinians into Egypt. However in mid-June of 2011 the crossing was again closed for several days and then only a few hundred were allowed to cross. Later Egypt apparently agreed to let a minimum of 500 a day cross, but now the situation is again at a crisis level.
More about rafah, Gaza strip, sinai violence
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