Hamas calls Egypt blockade a ‘crime against humanity’

Egyptian Army soldiers guard gates at main Egyptian crossing point into Gaza Strip, in Rafah city

(Reuters) – The Palestinian militant group Hamas on Tuesday called Egypt’s curbs on movement through its crossing with the Gaza Strip a “crime against humanity”, in an unprecedented rebuke of its Arab neighbor that further frays their worsening ties.

The closures, that Egypt says were introduced because of security concerns, have cut off imports of medicine and aid to the impoverished coastal enclave and prevented travel by thousands of Gazans and patients seeking treatment abroad.

Usually open for four to six days per month, the Rafah crossing has now been shut to normal passenger traffic for 40 straight days – although Egyptian authorities have opened it twice in that period for pilgrims to Mecca.

“Egyptian authorities’ insistence on closing the Rafah crossing and tightening the blockade of Gaza … is a crime against humanity by every criteria and a crime against the Palestinian people,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Islamist movement which rules Gaza…