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Mubarak orders opening of Rafah crossing into Gaza

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, a day after an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza left at least nine people dead.

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AFP - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, the official MENA agency reported.

The order came a day after a raid by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007,  in which nine peace activists were killed.

"Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has given orders to open the Rafah border crossing to allow humanitarian and medical aid into the Gaza Strip, as well as to receive medical cases which require access to Egyptian territory," MENA said.

"This comes as part of Egypt's moves to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip."

According to Egyptian security sources in Rafah, the border opened on Tuesday at 1.30 pm (1030 GMT). There has been no set date for its closure.

The Rafah border crossing, the only way into Gaza that bypasses Israel, is kept closed by Egypt most of the time. Cairo allows the opening of the border two days a week for humanitarian cases.

Egypt has come under harsh regional criticism for keeping the border closed.

Israel imposed the blockade on Gaza in 2007 after the Islamist Hamas group routed forces loyal to president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah group from the strip, a year after Hamas won legislative elections there.

 

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