gaza border crossing
People hoping to cross from Gaza into Egypt present their passports as they wait at the Rafah crossingReuters

More than 1,300 Palestinians used the Rafah border crossing with Egypt during the two days it was open, the first time people have been able to cross there in 2016.

It was opened for two days following its closure in October 2014, following attacks at the Qarm Al-Qawadis checkpoint – and has only been opened on a handful of occasions since, for up to four days at a time. It is the only crossing through which Palestinians can exit Gaza, and was opened for 48-hours after pleas from Palestine's interior ministry that the crossing be opened to allow humanitarian cases to pass through.

During the two-day border opening, 595 Palestinians crossed into Egypt, while a greater number of people, 726, crossed from Egypt into Palestine, Daily News Egypt reported.

Reports from the area stated that hundreds of people were waiting around the border crossing as it opened, with people on either side eager to get across. At the time the border crossing was closed, the Palestinian National Authority's interior ministry criticised the move, stating that the closure of Rafah would worsen the suffering of people in Gaza and that the crossing posed no threat to Egypt.

Following the two-day opening of Rafah on 13-14 February, the ministry suggested that there may be as many as 25,000 humanitarian cases that needed to travel. The border closed once again on 14 February, with no indication as to when or whether it would open again.