CAIRO: Egypt will open the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip from Monday till Wednesday, the MENA news agency reported.
The crossing will be opened in both directions for humanitarian cases – those seeking or returning from treatment in Egypt – as well as Palestinian students studying abroad and holders of other nationalities.
It will be the first time the crossing opens since the death of Egyptian soldier Ahmed Shaaban during a Jan. 6 demonstration at the border, which Egypt claims was Hamas’s responsibility, while the Gaza group maintained that the Egyptians shot him in the back by mistake as they aimed for two Palestinians across the border.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, who made the claim, cited the comments of the Ministry of Health Representative in Northern Sinai Tarek Al-Mahalawy, who had said that Shaaban was killed by two shots received in the back.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit had said two days prior that Egypt knew the names of the snipers that killed Shaaban and would request from Hamas that they be arrested.
“We know their names and we shall request that they be apprehended, he said, “and we shall see how Hamas deals with this matter.
A source in Gaza told the Palestinian Maan news agency, “Egypt s hesitance to open the crossing is due to the crisis between Hamas and Cairo following the death of Egyptian soldier Ahmad Shaaban.
The Rafah crossing is the only direct entry point into the besieged Gaza Strip, under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. Egypt and Hamas generally agree on its opening intermittently for a few days at a time.
Meanwhile, in Sinai the Popular Committee for the Rights of Sinai Citizens held a press conference Monday evening after gathering representatives of many of the Bedouin tribes in the area, including the Tarabin and Sawarkeh.
The conference was about rectifying the image of Sinai Bedouins in light of what they perceived was “negative coverage about the Bedouins in the Egyptian and foreign press one participant said.
Additionally, other issues concerning the Bedouins in Sinai were discussed, including the treatment of Bedouins constantly under suspicion by security authorities in the area.