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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Egypt opens border with Gaza temporarily

The Rafah crossing point will open on Wednesday for four days on a humanitarian basis

People wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip on February 21, 2018. Mohammed Salem / Reuters
People wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip on February 21, 2018. Mohammed Salem / Reuters

Egypt will open its border with the Gaza Strip amid a military campaign against extremists in the Sinai Peninsula, officials said.

The Rafah crossing point will open on Wednesday for four days on a humanitarian basis, two officials said, according to the Associated Press. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because there were not authorised to brief the media.

The Palestinian embassy in Cairo confirmed the officials’ comments.

Thousands of Gaza residents are on travel lists — most of them medical patients, students and holders of residency permits of other countries. Only a few thousand will make it out in the time allotted.

Egypt's security forces have been increasingly targeted by extremists since the army in 2013 overthrew Mr El Sisi's predecessor, president Mohammed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has kept Rafah largely sealed off since then.

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A group of Sinai-based extremists swore allegiance to ISIL in 2014. Attacks by the militants have killed hundreds of soldiers and police and scores of civilians.

Egypt’s security forces have killed dozens of militants and arrested hundreds, including foreigners, in a continuing clampdown in the Sinai Peninsula.

Operation Sinai 2018, which was launched this month, will cover large parts of the peninsula but also parts of the Nile Delta and the West Desert, where other militants have waged attacks.

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