Egypt + 1 more

Egyptian Rafah crossing to open 24/7 following Israeli pullout

CAIRO, Jul 11, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing along Egypt-Gaza border has made arrangements to operate around-the-clock seven days a week as of mid-August, following the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian Gazette daily reported Monday.

The daily quoted informed sources as saying that Egyptian border guards will be deployed along the border with the Palestinian territories, known as Philadelphi Road.

The sources said border monitoring coordination had topped the agenda of meetings between Egyptian, Palestinian and Israeli officials.

Coordination on the bilateral level with the Palestinians is underway to streamline Palestinian's transit in and out of the territories, thus avoiding congestion at the Rafah crossing.

The sources asserted the Egyptian leadership had ordered the border authority to work harder towards the facilitation of cross- border trade in addition to encouraging tourists to use the Rafah crossing after the Israeli pullout.

Israel plans to withdraw from all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four out of 120 in the West Bank as of Aug. 17 to disengage from conflict with the Palestinians.