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Egypt to close its Rafah border checkpoint with Gaza

RIA Novosti

03/02/2009 11:48 CAIRO, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - Egypt will close its Rafah border crossing with Gaza from February 5, the country's Al-Ahram newspaper said on Tuesday citing an unnamed official.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the Rafah border crossing opened shortly after Israel attacked Gaza on December 27 to receive injured Palestinians and deliver humanitarian aid to the impoverished region.

Egypt made the decision to close its border after it stopped receiving Palestinians, who were injured during Israel's three-week military operation in the densely-populated enclave.

The Egyptian authorities, however, have not ruled out that the border crossing could be opened in the future if required.

Trucks with humanitarian cargo will be allowed into Gaza in the future through the Israeli-controlled border checkpoints of Al-Oja and Kerem Shalom.

Israel and Egypt sealed their borders with Israel after the Islamist movement Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. The blockade has led to a drastic deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

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