Palestinian hopes for Egypt border opening dashed for now

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Palestinian leaders hoped a recently signed reconciliation agreement would lead to Egypt reopening its border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, but those hopes seem to have been dashed.

Palestinian hopes for Egypt border opening dashed for now

Palestinian hopes for Egypt border opening dashed for now

Egypt has kept its crossing with Gaza largely closed in recent years, while the territory has also been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade.

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, since 2008.

Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah, which is based in the occupied West Bank, signed a landmark reconciliation deal last month aimed at ending their decade-long split.

The agreement mediated by Egypt led to president Mahmud Abbas's Palestinian Authority retaking control of Gaza's borders on November 1.

The PA is supposed to retake full civil control of the Gaza Strip by December 1.

Palestinian leaders had said they hoped one result of the deal would be the opening of Egypt's Rafah border with the Gaza Strip on November 15.

On Wednesday, Palestinian officials said they were still awaiting word from Egypt.

"We don't have any information about when Rafah border will reopen again," Nazmi Muhanna, in charge of border crossings for the Palestinian Authority, told AFP.

Cracks have emerged in the reconciliation deal, particularly over security control of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is refusing to disarm its military wing as Abbas wants.

Security in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula is also thought to be one of Cairo's concerns.

Egyptian security forces have been fighting a branch of the Islamic State group in the Sinai.

Egypt is expected to host another meeting of Palestinian factions in Cairo on November 21 to discuss next steps in the reconciliation process.

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