Egyptian authorities have barred Palestinians seeking to travel to Turkey, Qatar and four other countries from leaving the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing, a Palestinian official said Saturday.
“Egyptian authorities have told the border authority that students and citizens seeking to travel to Turkey, Malaysia, Algeria, Iran, Qatar and Libya will not be dealt with,” border official Ismail Abul-Gabeen said in a press release.
There was no comment from Egyptian authorities on the claim.
Egypt’s relations with Turkey and Qatar soared following last year’s ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the military.
Located on the border between Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, the Rafah crossing has in recent years been a major sore point in Egyptian-Palestinian relations.
The crossing – which is dedicated to the movement of persons, foodstuffs and medicine – has been kept tightly shut for the most part by Egyptian authorities, especially since Morsi’s overthrow.
Gaza residents frequently complain that the crossing closure by Egypt has compounded the suffering already induced by Israel’s eight-year-old blockade of the coastal territory.