Gaza City: Egyptian officials at the Rafah
border with the Gaza Strip closed the crossing on Saturday,
Palestinian police said.
Ayub Abu Shaa, head of the Hamas police unit at Rafah,
said phone calls to the Egyptian side went unanswered and a
crowd of hundreds of Palestinians seeking to cross to Egypt
were faced with a locked gate.
According to a security source in Egypt, the crossing
was closed for works which were to have been completed
yesterday and efforts were underway to allow through
Egyptian security and state television later said that
the crossing had reopened, but only for pedestrians, as the
works prevented the passage of vehicles.
Palestinian officials said afterward that the border
was still closed but Hamas police had moved Palestinian
would-be travellers away from the frontier fence.
Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing, the only way in and
out of Gaza that is not controlled by Israel, last month after
it had been largely shut since June 2006 when Israel imposed a
blockade after militants snatched an Israeli soldier.
The Israeli blockade was tightened a year later when
the Islamist movement Hamas seized control of the territory,
with Egypt cooperating by tightly restricting movement through
Egypt`s decision to permanently reopen Rafah came more
than three months after former Egyptian president Hosni
Mubarak resigned following 18 days of massive street protests
against his rule.