Egypt, amid its counter-insurgency offensive, has sharply restricted entry from the neighboring Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Hamas officials said the new military-backed regime in Cairo has reduced the flow of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip over the last month. They said the Egyptian military was allowing entry to 300 Palestinians per day, 25 percent of that before the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi.
“It is a key measure used to hurt us,” an official said.
Since the ouster of Morsi on July 3, Egypt has restricted operations at the Rafah Border Terminal to four hours a day. Officials said this included the Id Al Fitr festival that ended the Muslim fast month of Ramadan.
Those most hurt by the Egyptian restrictions were Palestinians enrolled in universities in Egypt or those who sought medical treatment.
Travelers were forced to turn to the Rafah terminal as Egyptian security forces destroyed smuggling tunnels that connected the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip.
Under Morsi, Hamas had expected the lifting of all restrictions for Palestinian entry to Egypt. But officials said the new military-backed regime was punishing the Gaza regime for its support of Egypt’s first Islamist president..