Stranded Gaza students demonstrate at crossing with Egypt

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-16 22:36:56

Stranded Gaza students on Monday demonstrated outside the closed gate of Rafah crossing with Egypt, demanding Egyptian authorities reopen the main terminal for the Palestinian enclave.

Dozens of stranded students gathered at the crossing, holding Palestinian and Egyptian flags which read "I want to exercise my right in education" and "open Rafah crossing."

The main border crossing for Gaza's 1.7 million population has been shut for six days by Egyptian authorities due to the insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Gaza.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has urged the head of the Egyptian intelligence to open the crossing for humanitarian cases, according to official news agency Wafa.

The report said General Mohammed Tuhami, head of the Egyptian intelligence, has promised to open the crossing in a few days.

Since the Egyptian military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, the Rafah crossing had been operating at less than half of its capacity. Egypt limited inbound travelers to only humanitarian workers, medical patients, dual-nationals, students and people with residency permits in other countries.

Last Wednesday, Egypt shut down the crossing after a deadly car bomb explosion at a military intelligence facility on the Egyptian side of Rafah town.

In his visit to Cairo in July, Abbas said he was ready to reactivate the 2005 international protocol, which allows the crossing to remain permanently open under the presence of the Palestinian presidential guard and EU monitors.

However, Hamas, the Islamic movement that controls Gaza, refuses to reactivate the protocol, stressing that the crossing should be run by Palestinians and Egypt only.

Hamas took over Gaza by force in 2007 after routing troops loyal to Abbas, whose rule has since been confined to the West Bank. .

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