Ma'an News Agency
August 8, 2012 - 12:00am

Egyptian authorities are expected to reopen the Rafah land crossing to Palestinian travelers in the coming days, says Mahir Abu Sabha, director of crossings in the ministry of interior in Gaza.

Abu Sabha told Ma’an that he expected the Rafah crossing to be opened Thursday-Saturday. He asserted that talks with the Egyptian side over reopening the crossing were ongoing.

Abu Sabha reiterated that the Gaza Strip had nothing to do with the "terrorist" attack on Egyptian soldiers Sunday which left 16 dead.

Closure of the Rafah land port, he said, negatively affects patients, pilgrims, and other citizens. Because of the closure, several pilgrims who were scheduled to leave to Saudi Arabia could not leave and now they have to go through the scheduling process again.

For his part, spokesman of the ministry of health of the Hamas-run government Ashraf al-Qidra warned that closure of Rafah crossing add more suffering to the many patients who need treatment abroad.

He also highlighted that the Gaza Strip ran out of medicines and medical equipment in 450 categories, and “the situation will be disastrous if the Rafah crossing remains closed.”

Meanwhile in the Sinai, Egyptian jets and soldiers struck back at suspected extremist groups. Twenty people were killed in the operation early Wednesday, security sources said.

A Ma’an reporter in el-Arish said Egyptian helicopters targeted armored vehicles belonging to "terrorists" in the villages of al-Toumah, al-Shallaq, and al-Atayqa.

The airstrikes started at 3 a.m. and stopped at 5 a.m. causing serious casualties.

Infantry soldiers then besieged what they described as extremist militants with the help of Bedouin tribes trying to control al-Toumah village, which houses the largest number of suspected militants.


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