Ministry: Rafah crossing closed for 81 days in 2014
Published Friday 18/04/2014 (updated) 23/04/2014 22:34
Palestinians wait for relatives coming from Egypt at the Rafah
border crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip on
March 9, 2014 (AFP Said Khatib)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing with Gaza closed for a total of 81 days in 2014, Gaza's Ministry of Interior said Friday.
The near constant closure of the crossing has exacerbated the crisis in Gaza and prevented thousands of passengers from traveling, the ministry said.
Human rights groups must pressure Egypt to open the crossing, the ministry added, noting that it has been closed for 81 out of a total of 108 days in 2014.
The 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 Israel in 2007.
After a military coup last July, 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.
In March, Hamas described the Rafah closure as a "crime against humanity," and the UN criticized it for its effect on "the civilian population, including patients awaiting medical treatment."