Egypt delays opening of Rafah border crossing with Gaza after Sinai attack

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Palestinian young men use their smart-phones as they wait to cross at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt before being allowed to pass out of the southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 20, 2017. (AFP Photo)
Palestinian young men use their smart-phones as they wait to cross at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt before being allowed to pass out of the southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 20, 2017. (AFP Photo)

Egypt has delayed the opening of the Egypt-Gaza Rafah border crossing due to security concerns after a North Sinai attack on a mosque killed more than 200 people, MENA state news agency said Friday, citing the Palestinian embassy in Cairo.

The border was scheduled to reopen for three days to allow travel from both sides, the agency said. But the official in Gaza, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it will remain closed.

Friday's bomb and gun assault on the Rawda mosque near North Sinai provincial capital of El-Arish killed at least 235 people.

"The Egyptian side informed us that Rafah will not reopen on Saturday because of the tragic events in Northern Sinai," the official added.

The border reopened last Saturday for three days for the first time since the transfer of control of Gaza crossing points from Hamas movement to the Palestinian Authority on Nov. 1.

It had been closed since August, and the reopening allowed patients, students and stranded people to leave the Palestinian enclave.

Gaza has been subject to Israeli blockade for a decade, and for years to the almost permanent closure of its border with Egypt.

Hamas took control of the strip in June 2007.

The transfer of control of border crossings is a major test for a reconciliation deal reached in Cairo on Oct. 12, after multiple previous attempts at Hamas-Fatah reconciliation over the past decade failed.

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