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Egypt denies agreeing with Israel to reopen Rafah border crossing

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Egypt denies agreeing with Israel to reopen Rafah border crossing

Cairo, May 31 (IANS/DPA) Egypt denied that it has agreed with Israel to reopen the vital Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian TV channel reported on Friday.

Earlier this month, Israel took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, in an operation that halted aid deliveries via the facility into the heavily populated coastal strip.

Citing a high-level source, Egypt’s state-affiliated al-Qahera News TV said on Friday that “there is no truth” in media reports about an Egyptian-Israeli agreement to reopen the crossing.

“Egypt insists on a full Israeli withdrawal from the crossing as a condition to resume its work,” the source said.

Since the closure of the crossing, Egypt has indicated it will not coordinate aid transports through Rafah until the Israeli forces withdraw.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. But, the ongoing military campaign in Gaza has inflamed anti-Israeli sentiment in the Arab world’s most populous nation and apparently strained their decades-old ties.

Cairo is also concerned that an expansion of the Israeli offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, crowded by refugees fleeing the fighting, could trigger a mass exodus into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Israel deems Rafah the last stronghold of Hamas, which killed hundreds of civilians in Israel in October last year.


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