Egypt halts operations at Gaza border crossing

Move comes in ostensible retaliation for alleged breach by Hamas of reconciliation agreement

Egypt halts operations at Gaza border crossing

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.