Hundreds of pro-Hamas demonstrators gathered on Sunday at the Rafah crossing in the Gaza Strip to demand that Egypt open its border to relieve a months-old Israeli siege. Some 600 demonstrators deployed in front of the crossing under the watchful eyes of Egyptian security forces on the other side, AFP reported.
Hamas-run security forces prevented anyone from approaching the crossing itself. "People of Palestine, the Arab world, and the Islamic world, do not leave Gaza to die!" Ahmed Baher, a senior Hamas leader and the acting head of the Palestinian parliament, said in a speech at the crossing.
Around 700 policemen were mobilised on the Egyptian side of the border "to prevent any violation after Hamas asked its supporters to protest at the terminal," an Egyptian security official said. He added that 450 policemen were already on the ground while 250 others were in police cars waiting for orders to deploy.
On Saturday, the families of Gaza patients committee strongly denounced the Egyptian government for continuing to close the Rafah border crossing, accusing it of helping the Israeli occupation in "strangling patients and increasing their suffering." "As we bid farewell to our patients, we congratulate Egypt for the culmination of its silence with the rise of the number of siege victims to more than 233", the statement said.