Rafah crossing open, operating very slowly due to computer problem
Published Tuesday 24/12/2013 (updated) 26/12/2013 00:13
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in both directions on Tuesday morning and plan to keep it open until Thursday evening, Palestinian sources said.
An official in the crossings department of the Gaza Ministry of Interior told Ma'an Tuesday that the crossing was open in the morning, but passengers were processed very slowly due to a computer problem on the Egyptian side of the terminal.
The Gaza Ministry of Interior decided to give priority on Tuesday to passengers who had previously registered to leave at its offices in November.
A statement released Monday highlighted that the ministry was starting a new registration process for those who need to travel during the coming three days.
The crossing opening follows negotiations by the Embassy of Palestine to Egypt with "high-profile contacts" in the Egyptian government, the Ambassador of Palestine to Egypt Barakat al-Farra told Ma'an Monday.
There have been frequent closures of the Rafah terminal in recent months due to political unrest in Egypt and violence in the Sinai peninsula.
After the July coup, which deposed president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's army has repeatedly closed the Rafah border crossing and destroyed hundreds of tunnels that Gazans used for years to import fuel, building materials and other goods.
The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza's 1.7 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an economic blockade by the State of Israel beginning in 2007.
The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.