Egyptian authorities will exceptionally reopen the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to allow pilgrims from the Israeli-blockaded strip to cross, a Palestinian official said, according to Anadolu Agency.
“Rafah terminal will be open for three consecutive days,” Hisham Adwan, Palestinian director of the crossing, said on Saturday.
According to Awqaf Department in Gaza, 2008 Palestinians from Gaza Strip are going to travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj this year.
Blockaded by Israel — by air, land and sea — since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world.
Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh — the Rafah crossing — is controlled by Egypt, which keeps it tightly sealed for the most part since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in a 2013 military coup.
The Rafah crossing has only been opened by Egyptian authorities on a sporadic basis in recent years, leaving Palestinians stranded on both sides of the crossing, some of whom continue to be in dire need of medical services outside of the besieged enclave.
Egypt has upheld an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip for the majority of the past three years, since the ouster of President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 and the rise to power of Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt.
The nearly nine-year Israeli blockade has plunged the Gaza Strip’s more than 1.8 million Palestinians into poverty. The destruction from three Israeli offensives over the past six years and slow reconstruction due to the blockade led the UN to warn that Gaza could be “uninhabitable” by 2020.