NEW YORK, October 17. /TASS/. The Rafah checkpoint on Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip has not been opened because Israel has refused to give guarantees that it would stop airstrikes in the checkpoint’s vicinity, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said on Tuesday, citing Egyptian officials.
According to the officials, the deal to evacuate refugees from the Rafah checkpoint fell apart due to Egypt’s concerns over the lack of Israel’s guarantees that its army would stop bombing adjacent areas. Apart from that, the Egyptian side is concerned about Israel’s demand that all trucks with humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt be thoroughly searched.
The Wall Street Journal notes that Egypt refuses to accept a large number of refugees from Gaza due to economic problems, such as a rise in food prices and currency devaluation.
The Rafah checkpoint was expected to be opened on October 16 but the sides failed to reach an agreement on the issue.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN Secretary General, said earlier that Israel had informed the UN that 1.1 million Palestinians should evacuate to the south of the Gaza Strip within 24 hours. According to the UN spokesperson, the call for the evacuation also applies to all UN staff, along with those who are taking shelter at UN facilities, including schools, medical centers and clinics. The Israel Defense Forces later published the call for Gaza Strip residents to evacuate to the south on Telegram.
Tensions flared up in the Middle East after Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip attacked Israeli territory. Hamas views its attack as a response to Israeli authorities’ steps against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched bombardments of the enclave and some areas in Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also reported in the West Bank. More than 2,800 Palestinians have been killed and around 10,900 others injured. In Israel, at least 1,500 people have lost their lives and almost 4,000 have been wounded.