Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Yahoo News Photo Staff

Thousands of Palestinian travelers gathered at Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt on Thursday hoping for a brief chance to leave after Cairo temporarily opened a frontier it largely keeps closed as it battles an Islamist insurgency on the other side.

Israel also maintains tight restrictions on its border with the Gaza Strip, meaning the 2 million Palestinians who live there are rarely able to leave the densely-populated enclave in which the Hamas Islamist movement is the dominant armed force.

Egypt tends to open the frontier temporarily a few times a year, usually with short notice and little explanation. The latest opening began on Wednesday with no advanced announcement at all.

It was only the second time in more than a decade that the border was opened while unarmed security officers of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), rather than Hamas, guarded the Palestinian side.

A reconciliation agreement in October between Hamas and the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave the PA control of the Rafah crossing for the first time since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007. Egypt opened the border briefly in December. (Reuters)

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<p>Gazaians wait for a bus, which will transport them to Egypt, after Egyptian authorities decision on opening the Rafah border gate, located between besieged Gaza and Egypt, bidirectional for three days in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Gazaians wait for a bus, which will transport them to Egypt, after Egyptian authorities decision on opening the Rafah border gate, located between besieged Gaza and Egypt, bidirectional for three days in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>Palestinians in Gaza wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: APAImages/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Palestinians in Gaza wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: APAImages/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>Gazaians wait for a bus, which will transport them to Egypt, after Egyptian authorities decision on opening the Rafah border gate, located between besieged Gaza and Egypt, bidirectional for three days in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Gazaians wait for a bus, which will transport them to Egypt, after Egyptian authorities decision on opening the Rafah border gate, located between besieged Gaza and Egypt, bidirectional for three days in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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<p>A woman cries as she asks for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

A woman cries as she asks for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

<p>A girl sleeps on a suitcase as she waits with her family for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

A girl sleeps on a suitcase as she waits with her family for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

<p>A man gestures as he asks for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

A man gestures as he asks for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

<p>Gazaians wait for a bus, which will transport them to Egypt, after Egyptian authorities decision on opening the Rafah border gate, located between besieged Gaza and Egypt, bidirectional for three days in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Gazaians wait for a bus, which will transport them to Egypt, after Egyptian authorities decision on opening the Rafah border gate, located between besieged Gaza and Egypt, bidirectional for three days in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>Palestinians sit with their luggage as they wait to enter the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb, 8, 2018. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Palestinians sit with their luggage as they wait to enter the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb, 8, 2018. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

<p>Palestinians travellers’ children warm themselves by a fire while they wait with their families to cross into Egypt through Rafah border crossing between Gaza Strip and Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Palestinians travellers’ children warm themselves by a fire while they wait with their families to cross into Egypt through Rafah border crossing between Gaza Strip and Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>Shadows cast by Palestinians waiting to cross into Egypt through Rafah border crossing between Gaza Strip and Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Shadows cast by Palestinians waiting to cross into Egypt through Rafah border crossing between Gaza Strip and Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>Members of Palestinian Hamas security forces stand guard as people ask for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Members of Palestinian Hamas security forces stand guard as people ask for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

<p>Palestinians in Gaza wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Palestinians in Gaza wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>A girl looks out of a bus window as she waits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

A girl looks out of a bus window as she waits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

<p>A Palestinian man cries as he asks for a permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

A Palestinian man cries as he asks for a permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

<p>Palestinians wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Palestinians wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>Palestinians in Gaza wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: APAImages/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Thousands of Palestinians crowd the Gaza Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Palestinians in Gaza wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo: APAImages/REX/Shutterstock)

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