Some 3,000 Palestinians have been waiting several days to pass through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip due to heightened security searches by the Israeli authorities, Palestinian sources said.
“More than 3,000 Palestinians were held back on the Egyptian side of the border for several days due to Israeli annoyances, security measures and untimely searches of travelers," a Palestinian security official said on condition of anonymity.
“We have asked Israel several times to facilitate the passage of travelers to and from the Gaza Strip, but they claim to be under-manned at the border post," he said.
The security official said the Israeli authorities only keep the Rafah passage open between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (0600 GMT and 1300 GMT) in violation of peace agreements between the two sides, which call for the crossing to operate round the clock.
A 62-year-old Palestinian died Saturday at the Rafah terminal while waiting to return to Egypt, a hospital source said the previous day.
Israel operates the borders between Rafah and the Gaza Strip, and Jordan and the West Bank, along with the Palestinian Authority. The borders have been opened and closed intermittently since the eruption of violence last September -- GAZA CITY (AFP)