Hamas suspends work at Rafah crossing

GAZA, June 5 (Xinhua) — Hamas authorities suspended working at Rafah crossing point Sunday until reaching an agreement with Egypt on resuming the movement of travelers, officials said.

The move was also to protest Egypt’s decision to close the crossing on Saturday. Egypt said renovation work was behind the closure of the crossing, a week after the Palestinians praised Egypt for deciding to open the crossing permanently for the first time in years.

Hamas’ foreign affairs ministry is holding contacts with Egypt over recent problems that prevented dozens of Palestinians from traveling, said Ayoub Abu Sha’ar, director of the Palestinian side at Rafah crossing.

He added that Hamas suspended the work “because the mechanisms of traveling in the Egyptian side are not clear.”

A week ago, Egypt said it opened the crossing, the only gate for Gazans to the world bypassing Israel, permanently and regularly.

Work went fine the first four days after the crossing was opened, but then Hamas said that the movement of travelers was ” almost paralyzed,” blaming Egypt for the slow work.

Egypt said there were technical problems that delayed the work and that these troubles can be resolved through coordination.

Since Hamas took over Gaza by force in 2007, the crossing had been closed for most of the time. In June 2010, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the crossing to reopen on regular basis, but conditions for travel were still difficult.

Source: Xinhua.
Link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-06/05/c_13912259.htm.

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