Hamas officials said Egypt had informed them it had reopened the Rafah crossing on Sunday for the first time since the August 5 border attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, signalling a defrosting of relations that had been chilly since the killings.
Though Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsy, share an ideology and political roots, the increasing closeness had been interrupted by the attack. Some in Egypt suggested that extremist groups in Gaza had supported the attackers, and Mr. Morsy not only shut down Rafah but also began destroying the hundreds of underground tunnels that supply the Gaza Strip with goods and Hamas with significant tax revenue.
Hamas also sent a delegation to Cairo to exchange information about the attack, according to a spokesman, who declined to provide further details. Previously, Egypt had sent Hamas a list of names of suspects, but Hamas had declined to make arrests, citing a lack of evidence.
The decision to reopen Rafah six days a week reverses an announcement on Thursday that the crossing would only be available three days a week and that travel would be restricted to humanitarian cases.
The tighter restrictions had drawn a wave of condemnations from political leaders and human rights advocates. Rafah serves as Gazans’ lifeline to the world.— New York Times News Service