More Than 5,000 Palestinians Cross Newly Opened Gaza-Egypt Border

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak opened Rafah in response to Israel's raid on Gaza flotilla; security sources say crossing to remain open.

More than 5,000 Palestinians have crossed the border between Gaza and Egypt since the Egyptian president ordered it opened eight days ago, border security sources said on Tuesday.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak opened the crossing in the border town of
Rafah in response to Israel's raid on an aid flotilla bound for the besieged Gaza Strip, which left nine activists dead.

A Palestinian woman carrying her daughter arrives at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza

People with documents granting them entry into Egypt or other Arab countries have been allowed to leave the coastal enclave, while Palestinian patients who had received medical treatment in Egypt were allowed to return to Gaza.

Tons of medical supplies, food and other aid items have also been driven into Gaza, sources said.

But a delegation of opposition members from the Egyptian parliament, including from the Muslim Brotherhood, have been stuck at the border since Monday, demanding permission to enter Gaza.

Shipments of construction and building materials that accompanied the parliamentarians were stopped by security forces in the town of al-Arish, about 50 kilometers away from the Rafah crossing.

The politicians said they are doing everything they can to negotiate their entry into the strip.

Egypt and Israel have maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the area in 2007.

Egypt has occasionally opened its border with the enclave for three or four-day periods. This is the first time that the border has been opened for an indefinite period of time.