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Egypt closes Rafah crossing following weekend attacks against Gaza

A view of the Rafah Crossing Point after it closed as part of the measures against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Rafah, Gaza on 15 March 2020 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]
A view of the Rafah Crossing Point after it closed on 15 March 2020 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

Egypt has today closed the Rafah Border Crossing with the Gaza Strip until further notice. The government in Cairo told Hamas that it is closing the crossing in both directions, but did not provide further details.

The Egyptian decision follows a series of airstrikes launched by Israel against "Hamas positions" in Gaza on Saturday night. The escalation came in the wake of clashes along the nominal Gaza border between Israeli forces and Palestinians as the latter marked the anniversary of the 1969 arson attack against Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque.

At least 41 Palestinians were injured during the violence, while the Israeli army said one of its soldiers was shot and critically injured. The soldier has since been identified as an Israeli army sniper.

The Rafah border is the main exit and entry point for two million Palestinians living in Gaza. Israel has imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip since 2007, which Egypt has supported by closing its border with the enclave. People, goods and even basic necessities such as food and fuel are restricted, leaving Palestinians in Gaza with only a few hours of electricity a day and no access to the outside world.

OPINION: The Rafah Border Crossing is a painful path for Gaza's Palestinians

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AfricaEgyptIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestine
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