The Palestinian Ministry of Health has warned of a real "health catastrophe" if the Rafah border crossing with Egypt remains closed. A spokesman for the ministry, Dr. Ashraf El-Kedra, called for its "immediate re-opening".
The Egyptian authorities closed the crossing in both directions after the attack on an army base near Rafah in Northern Sinai last Sunday, in which 16 soldiers were killed.
Dr. El-Kedra pointed out that the continued closure of the crossing will have a serious effect on patients in the Gaza Strip who need to travel abroad for treatment. "The decision to close the Rafah crossing even for patients and other humanitarian cases will increase their suffering and exacerbate their state of health," he said. Many patients, he added, are registered on the travel list for treatment in hospitals in Egypt.
As well as calling for the Rafah crossing to be re-opened, El-Kedra demanded the World Health Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross and all human rights institutions to put pressure on the Israeli government to open the Karam Abu Salem crossing to facilitate the entry of medicines and daily necessities to the besieged Gaza Strip.