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Egypt shuts Rafah crossing with Gaza amid security fears

Egypt shuts Rafah crossing with Gaza amid security fears
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Egypt has closed the Rafah border crossing with Gaza after attacks in the area by suspected Islamist militants .

Four sites were targeted in Egypt’s northern Sinai region including military checkpoints, a police station and the el-Arish airport, where military aircraft are stationed.

Palestinian travellers hoping to cross into Egypt were forced to give up and turn back. There was concern amongst some that the overthrow of elected Islamist President Mursi by the Egyptian military would have a detrimental effect its small neighbour.

Mahmoud Jarrad, who was travelling with his wife and baby said: “I hope that people (in Gaza) aren’t blamed for all the political problems inside Egypt, because this is the only exit out of Gaza. They know that we go to Egypt and come back without causing any problems. We shouldn’t pay the price for what is going on there”

Gaza’s ruling Hamas party was closely linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. They now have to adjust to a new reality.

Gaza political analyst, Mokhymar Abu Saada says the turn of events will be a shock for Hamas: “Hamas will be affected negatively by these political developments in Egypt. Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation and Hamas had a very strong and cooperative relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and with Dr Morsi over the past year.”

Relations with Egypt are critical for people in Gaza, who rely on it for essential supplies such as fuel and food.

Egypt said the Rafah crossing would be closed until further notice.