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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Egypt reopens Rafah border and continues the military operation in Sinai

Rafah border crossing

The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza was reopened yesterday after being closed nearly nine days.

The Egyptian authorities took a decision to close the Rafah border crossing following the deadly attack on 5 August which left 16 Egyptian border guards dead and 7 wounded and the series of clashes at the border checkpoints and police stations in Sinai during the following days. There were accusations that the assailants committed the attack at the border were the terrorists who supposedly came from Gaza, using the network of underground tunnels which connects Egypt with the neighboring Gaza. The militants established the wide network in Sinai using the security vacuum in the region after ouster of Egypt’s ex-President Hosni Mubarak. The militants were probably also using the assistance of the local Bedouin people.

After the 5 August attack and the following clashes Egyptian Military deployed the additional troops and military vehicles and weapons in the region and started the massive military operation against the terrorists in Sinai. The operation received the approval from Israeli side (which is required under the terms of Camp David peace treaty). Egyptian military and special forces claimed to kill 20 terrorists in the Northern Sinai during the military offensive, the number of suspected persons were arrested.

In the framework of the military operation and under the current circumstances Egypt decided also to close the border crossing in Rafah which provoked a serious criticism of Morsy and his policy from the Palestinian side. The border was partially reopened this Friday and Saturday, but only into one direction, into Palestine. Today there was a statement of Egyptian authorities that the Rafah border crossing will be reopened in the both directions for the pilgrims, sick people seeking the medical treatment and other categories of Palestinians. The Egyptian decision about reopening of the border coincided with the statement of Maher Abu Sabha, who is in charge of Gaza strip border crossing, that the border will be fully reopened before the end of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr.

The activists in the region have already confirmed that the Rafah border crossing was already reopened and the number of Palestinian citizens got the chance to cross into Palestine.

Egyptian armed forces in Sinai
Meanwhile Egyptian military and special forces continue the military operation in Sinai as the attacks still repeat in the region. On Tuesday morning Egypt’s CSF (Central Security Forces) and military carried out a raid in Sheik Zuweid in attempt to arrest one of the suspected inhabitants. They surrounded the house and fired a few warning shots, but the suspected wasn’t there. While this raid the military forces were attacked by the armed men in the vehicle, but there were no casualties reported.

The military operation in the region will continue till the situation will be stable, according to the previous statements of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy who is leading the current military operation. The situation with the security in Sinai has deteriorated, but the increased military presence and the massive media coverage comparing to the previous times had a positive impact on the developments in Sinai. The overall security in Sinai has improved and is better than it was before with the military controlling the streets and the major areas in the main cities, according to the activists. The military operation in Sinai is tasked with the eliminating the terrorists and restoring security and stability in the region.