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Hundreds protest against continued closure of Rafah Crossing

Palestinians hold placards as they gather to stage a protest demanding the opening of the Rafah border gate, on 7 January 2018 in Rafah, Gaza [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of Palestinians unable to travel staged a protest in front of the Rafah Border Crossing on Sunday, Quds Press has reported. They called upon the Palestinian Authority and Egypt to open the crossing, at least for students and humanitarian cases.

"We came here to send a message to the Palestinian government of national accord, as well as the Egyptian authorities, that it is necessary to open the Rafah Crossing for emergency humanitarian cases and students," explained student Mohammed Nabil. Protesters raised placards calling for the crossing to be opened before they take the issue into their own hands and storm through the gates.

Nabil, who is a postgraduate student, said that he is unable to attend his classes due to the Rafah closure. He pointed out that the protesters are planning to erect a tent for a permanent protest in front of the crossing gates.

According to the Palestinian Interior Ministry, there are more than 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza who need to travel as a matter of urgency.

Read: Egypt decides to open Rafah crossing for 3 days next week

Rafah Border Crossing is the only window to the world for the people in Gaza. It has been closed since 2007 and only opens intermittently for three, four or at most five days every couple of months, when hundreds of people try to leave. Many conditions have to be met before permission is given to travel.

On 12 October last year, Egypt brokered a Palestinian internal reconciliation deal and pledged to open the Rafah Crossing permanently, but it has not done so yet.

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