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Egypt extends opening of Rafah border crossing

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Egypt extends opening of Rafah border crossing
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Cairo: Egyptian authorities have announced the extension of the opening of Rafah border crossing for an additional day, after initially planning to open the border Sunday and Monday only.

A total of 995 people passed through the crossing; 614 entered Egypt while 381 left Egypt for Gaza during both the days, Al Ahram reported.

This is the second time that the crossing has opened to Palestinians in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip since one of the deadliest attacks on Egyptian soldiers took place in North Sinai in October.

On Oct 24, militants killed 31 army personnel and injured at least 30 others in a single car bomb attack.

The border has been closed since then, apart from a two-day period starting Nov 26.

Egyptian authorities have kept the crossing mostly closed since former president Mohamed Morsi's ouster in 2013, citing security concerns in the north of the peninsula where Islamist militants are active.

Egypt has accused Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, of involvement in terrorist activities in Sinai Peninsula.

Hamas leaders have distanced themselves from violence in Egypt and say they have no armed presence in areas outside Palestinian areas.

Egypt�s army has been facing a decade-long jihadi militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, with militant attacks increasing over the past year and expanding into Cairo and the Nile Delta, killing hundreds of army and police personnel.

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