By Hani al-Shaer
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – The Egyptian authorities on Thursday suspended operations at the Rafah border crossing, which links the Gaza Strip to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, according to a Palestinian border official.
Moataz Dalloul, an official on the Palestinian side of the crossing, said a Hamas-affiliated security force had recently searched a passenger bus leaving Gaza, prompting retaliation by Egypt.
“The Egyptian authorities saw the move by Hamas as a violation of a recent agreement giving the Palestinian Authority (PA) exclusive control [at the expense of Hamas] over administration of the crossing,” Dalloul told Anadolu Agency.
Neither the Egyptian authorities nor Gaza’s Hamas-run Interior Ministry have yet to comment on the border official’s assertions.
On Nov. 1 of last year, Hamas — which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 — officially relinquished administrative control of the Rafah crossing to the Ramallah-based PA.
The move came in line with a reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo one month earlier between Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah, which leads the PA.