Hamas closes Rafah crossing amid disputes with Egypt
Hamas stopped travellers from crossing into Egypt on Sunday following disputes with the Egyptian authorities over restrictions at the Rafah border. Egypt lifted some restrictions last weekend, extending opening hours at the frontier and abolishing visa requirements for many Palestinians.
However, since then Egypt tried to slow the flow of Palestinians looking to leave the coastal enclave. On Saturday, the Egyptians closed the crossing, sparking a small riot at the border.
Egypt vowed to open the crossing on Sunday but Hamas border authorities kept the gates shut and demanded clarification from Cairo. Hatem Oweida, the Hamas manager of crossings authority, told Reuters: "We have had contact with the Egyptian leadership. We want to hear from them whether the declared easing of travel restrictions are still in place."
Passengers returning from Egypt were allowed to cross on Sunday, officials said, but Gazans looking to leave were told by Hamas policemen that the exit was closed.