On Wednesday, Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing in North Sinai – allowing passage for Palestinian Muslim pilgrims (2,400) arriving from Saudi Arabia back to Gaza Strip. The border is expected to remain open until Saturday 10 October en-route to Palestine only.

According to Daily News Egypt, the Ministry of National Security in Gaza has asked Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border  – as conflict between Palestinian citizens and Israeli residents in occupied areas is on the rise.

Furthermore, the Border and Passageway Organisation in Gaza said that they were not given further information regarding the passage of other Palestinians – standard patients, students and citizens with foreign passports.

According to Ahram Online, the border was closed by Egyptian security forces the previous year, due to terrorist attacks in North Sinai – resulting in the death of 30 military soldiers.

The Egyptian government has held Hamas accountable for those attacks, however they denied their involvement in aiding terrorism in Egypt.

According to The Guardian, the Rafah border is of high geographical and political importance because it is the only functioning passageway between Egypt and Palestine. It’s geographic centrality means that it plays a crucial role in the overlapping interests of Palestine, Egypt and in the Middle East more broadly.

Rafah was recognized in the 1979 Camp David accords and deep-rooted in 1982, when Israeli troops departed from the Sinai Peninsula. It was monitored by Israeli airport security until 2005 and later that became a duty of the European Union Border Assistance Mission.

Information gathered from: Ahram Online, Daily News Egypt and The Guardian

Featured image credits go to The Guardian

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