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Egypt 'to open border with Gaza'

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Egypt 'to open border with Gaza'


Egypt is to permanently open its border with Gaza, the country’s foreign minister Nabil Elaraby said on Friday.

Arabi told an Arabic-language news channel that Egypt would take “important steps to help ease the blockade on Gaza in the few days to come”.

Arabi said the decision by former leader, Hosni Mubarak, to seal off the Rafah crossing was “shameful”.

The plans have sparked concern amongst Israeli officials who fear it could strengthen Hamas’ grip on the territory and threaten regional security.

Mubarak’s government had close ties with Israel. It cooperated with its neighbour to impose the blockade on Gaza, which Israel says is necessary to stop the supply of weapons to Hamas and other Islamist groups. Its lifting was one of the key demands of protesters seeking the Eyptian leader’s ouster.

When Mubarak stepped down on February 11, Hamas called on Egypt’s military rulers to help end the four-year blockade, imposed in 2007 after it won the Palestinian parliamentary elections the previous year.

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