Egypt’s Coup Calamitous in Gaza: Military Cuts Off Rafah Crossing

Thousands Stranded on Either Side of the Border

Last week’s coup in Egypt has kicked off a new humanitarian crisis in the neighboring Gaza Strip, and set the stage for a grimmer-than-usual Ramadan for the besieged Palestinian enclave, as the Egyptian military has strictly closed the Gaza border.

The closure has left thousands of Gazans trapped in Egypt, and thousands of Egyptians trapped in Gaza, as travel had been extremely relaxed under President Morsi. Since Morsi’s ouster, the new junta fears Hamas infiltration aimed at supporting the return of the elected president, and has positioned tanks along the border, keeping it carefully closed.

In addition to the civilians stuck on the wrong side of a now-shuttered border, humanitarian aid and commerce into the Gaza Strip has slowed greatly, meaning fuel shortages are imminent.

Hospitals are already reportedly running low on the fuel used to keep their generators running, and gas stations are reporting long lines as anyone with a car tries to get the last of the petrol, knowing that between the Israeli blockade and the Egyptian coup, it could be a long time before new supplies are obtained.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.