CAIRO: Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing Thursday to allow some 300 Palestinians to return to Gaza.
The 300 were stranded on the wrong side of the border after clashes the day before led to the closure of the crossing.
Despite an agreement to keep it open, Egypt had closed the crossing on Wednesday after thousands of Gazans attempted to storm through.
Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said Thursday, “Everything that had happened was spontaneous, not planned and was not meant to take place.
Haniyeh placed the blame for the clashes on the Israeli blockade on Gaza, which has driven people in the territory to despair.
Hamas did indicate that the reopening on Thursday was something they had coordinated with Egypt to allow those stranded on Wednesday to return.
Thousands amassed at the border when Egypt reopened the crossing for two days starting Tuesday, allow Palestinians in need of medical attention or pursuing studies abroad to enter.
The agreement between Egypt and Hamas allowed for only a few hundred registered Palestinians to enter through the crossing, which straddles the Egypt-Gaza border.
Around 200 were allowed in on Tuesday and none on Wednesday as a result of the clashes that occurred, where six Egyptian soldiers were slightly wounded by the rocks thrown at them.
Thousands of Gazans gathered at the border hoping to get through. When that prospect seemed unlikely, they protested and threw stones at Egyptian security forces as they attempted to storm the border.
Egyptian border troops responded by firing water cannons at the gathered protestors preventing them from crossing into Egypt.The crossing was closed and calm was restored by 2 pm local time.