Egypt allows Gazans to leave strip for first time in months

RAFAH, GAZA STRIP (AP) — Egypt yesterday reopened Gaza’s main passenger crossing point for the first time in months for thousands of Palestinians who have been stranded on both sides of the border due to the coronavirus crisis.

Gaza residents holding Egyptian passports, foreign passports and patients seeking treatment abroad were to leave through the Rafah crossing point during its three-day opening, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza said.

Some 500 people exiedt yesterday, the first time the crossing has allowed departures since March.

Palestinians stranded in Egypt and abroad will be allowed to return home, the ministry added. Traffic for arrivals had been shut since May.

Gaza appears to have managed to keep the pandemic in check — in part of because of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that severely restricts movement in and out of the territory. Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

A worker pulls the luggage of passengers in Rafah, Gaza Strip. PHOTO: AP