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2,000 people leave Gaza in two days as Egypt crossing opens

RAFAH, GAZA - FEBRUARY 2: A view of the entrance of Rafah Crossing Point after the announcement that Egypt would reopen it from February 1 to 4 at the Rafah border crossing departure area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, on February 2, 2021. Egypt on Monday reopened the Rafah crossing with the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Interior Ministry. The border terminal will remain open in both directions for four days to allow stranded Palestinians to enter and exit the blockaded enclave, the Hamas-run ministry said in a statement. ( Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency )
A view of the entrance of Rafah Crossing Point after the announcement that Egypt would reopen it from February 1 to 4 at the Rafah border crossing departure area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, on February 2, 2021 [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]

Some 2,000 people have travelled from the Gaza Strip over the past two days as Egypt opened the Rafah crossing for the first time in 66 days.

In addition to the 1,927 who left the enclave, 828 re-entered the Strip, while 79 were not permitted to travel by Egyptian authorities, the Palestinian ministry of the Interior said in a statement.

The ministry had said that some 7,000 people needed to travel from Gaza urgently either for treatment, study or to return to work.

Rafah Crossing was closed in 2007, when Hamas won the Palestinian elections and gained control of Gaza, with Israel and Egypt imposing a full and tight siege on the coastal enclave.

The crossing is open from time to time. The last time it opened was 27 November 2020 for three days during which 2,696 people left Gaza, 829 returned and 223 were prevented from leaving the besieged Strip.

READ: No Way to Gaza

Over the weekend Egypt announced that it would be reopening the crossing for four days beginning Monday.

Twafiq Abu Naim, the undersecretary of the Interior Ministry, told reporters at the Rafah crossing that his ministry hopes that the border would be opened continuously in order to alleviate the suffering of those in Gaza and Palestinians stranded in Egypt.

"The humanitarian cases, students as well as those who need to travel have suffered a lot when the Rafah border crossing was closed," he said, calling on the Egyptian authorities to keep the gateway open all the time.

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