CAIRO: Hamas has requested that Egypt reopen the Rafah border crossing to allow the passage of much needed assistance and the evacuation of urgent medical cases in light of the Israeli closure of all crossings with Gaza last week.
Hamas, which still rules Gaza and has resulted in its isolation, called on Egypt to open the border to allow victims of the current Israeli attacks to receive medical care.
Israel had closed all crossing points with the territory in retaliation for rocket attacks into Southern Israel.
“We call on Egypt to make a brave decision and open the Rafah crossing point in southern Gaza Strip to provide medical treatment for the casualties of the Israeli attacks and bring in the basic humanitarian needs, said Hamas spokesman Taher Al-Nounou Saturday.
Thirty-seven Palestinians, including 11 civilians, have been killed in Gaza since Israel began attacks against the Strip last Tuesday.
The crossings Israel closed on Thursday were the only entry into Gaza and the only way in for the humanitarian assistance on which 80 percent of Palestinians entirely depend.
The Rafah border crossing is the only point from Gaza that is not under direct Israeli control, but it has been closed since June 2007 when clashes led to a Hamas takeover of the territory.
The situation in Gaza was devastating even before the closure of the crossing points according to relief agency officials in the strip.
Karen Koning AbuZayd, commisioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine refugees in the Near East, previously told Daily News Egypt that the situation in Gaza was “terrible and that the humanitarian crisis was bordering on the catastrophic. These comments were given before the recent closures.
Israel also has intentions to develop its security arrangements along the border with Egypt. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak proposed on Sunday the building of a security fence along the Egyptian-Israel border to prevent the smuggling of arms.