Thousands of Palestinians, aid cross Egypt's border with Gaza

Last Updated: Sat, Jun 12, 2010 12:30 hrs

, June 12 (DPA) More than 7,000 Palestinians have crossed Egypt's border with Gaza since it was opened after Israel's attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, an Egyptian official said Saturday.

The official at the crossing in the border town of Rafah said that 4,378 Palestinians were granted entry to Egypt, while 2,737 crossed into the Gaza Strip.

Tons of medical supplies, food and other aid items have also been driven into Gaza, whilst Palestinians have travelled to Egypt for medical help, the official added.

Arab solidarity delegations have also been granted permission to enter Gaza. However, an Algerian humanitarian aid ship which docked in Egypt's al-Arish sea port Friday was still waiting to enter

the enclave.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa is expected to visit the enclave Sunday, the first visit for the organisation's chief to the besieged territory, as part of the Arab League's efforts to break the blockade on the Strip.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the area in 2007. Occasionally, Egypt has opened the Rafah border for three or four-day periods. This is the first time that the border has been opened for an indefinite time.

Egypt was criticised for keeping the border closed during Israel's three-week offensive on the strip last year, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

In recent months it has been criticised for building an underground barrier beneath the border, in a bid to cut the number of smugglers' tunnels between Rafah and the Gaza Strip.