Egypt closes Gaza border in tension with Hamas


Cairo-Egypt closed a major border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Monday amid tensions with Hamas rulers on the territory, officials said.

This is the first time the Rafah Border Cross has been closed during work since the beginning of this year. Egyptian authorities kept it open during the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas terrorist groups in May.

According to Egyptian officials, the closure was related to Cairo’s efforts to mediate a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. It wasn’t immediately clear how long the closure would last, officials said.

One official said the move put pressure on Hamas due to a “difference” between Cairo and terrorist groups regarding the lack of progress in both Egypt-led indirect negotiations with Israel and efforts to reconcile Palestinian factions. He said he intended to call.

Officials were not allowed to speak to reporters, so they spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hamas-run Interior Ministry spokesman Iyadal-Bozum said Hamas had been notified of the closure. He said they were in contact with Egyptian authorities to resume Rapha.

“The closure of the intersection exacerbates the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” he told The Associated Press. “I hope the intersection will get back to work as soon as possible.”

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade against Gaza since Hamas ruled the territory in 2007. The blockage restricts the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza, and Rapha serves as the main exit for Gaza to travel abroad. Open.

Hamas has become more and more angry in recent weeks after Israel tightened its blockade in the wake of the May war. Israel demanded the return of the bodies of two dead soldiers and two Israeli civilians believed to be alive and detained by Hamas as a condition of the ceasefire. Meanwhile, it postponed the coveted delivery of reconstruction materials.

According to the Israeli National Fire Department, activists in the Gaza Strip fired balloons of fire in southern Israel on Monday, causing at least three fires across the border.

Israeli forces said earlier Tuesday that the fighter had bombed the Hamas ruins in Gaza in response to a balloon launch.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in airstrikes targeting the military saying it was a weapons manufacturing facility and rocket launch site belonging to Hamas.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the launch of the balloon, but in a statement on Sunday, Hamas and other militant groups “continue our popular activity without hesitation or retreat.” I promised.

The statement followed a fierce protest organized by Hamas along the Israeli border on Saturday, when Palestinian activists shot Israeli snipers in the head at close range. Soldiers remained in crisis on Monday.

At least 24 Palestinians were injured in Israeli shootings and two were seriously injured in a protest on Saturday.

Egypt has been an important intermediary between Israel and Hamas for many years. Egyptian intelligence director Abbas Kamel rarely visited Israel last week to discuss a ceasefire agreement with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. He invited Bennett to Egypt.

The day after the visit, Israel announced that it had reached an agreement with Qatar in the Gulf countries to resume payments of aid to thousands of poor Gazan families. Payments, the main source of stability in the hit Gaza, were suspended after the war.

Since May, Egypt has granted aid to Gaza and a convoy of construction to assist in the reconstruction of houses and infrastructure destroyed during the battle.

Reuters contributed to this report

Associated Press