(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
The Rafah Terminal has fully reopened today, February 1, 2005, to allow both entry and exit of Palestinians. The initial reopening of the terminal on January 21, 2005 allowed entry into the Gaza Strip, in order to enable thousands of Palestinian pilgrims who had traveled to Mecca to return to the Gaza Strip. Despite the terrorist attack on December 12, 2004, which led to the closing of the Rafah Terminal, a special humanitarian effort was made in order to allow for freedom of religious ritual to Muslim Palestinians who made their pilgrimage to Mecca.
On December 12, 2004, armed Palestinians carried out a coordinated attack on an IDF post securing the Rafah Terminal, killing five IDF soldiers and wounding five others. The attack destroyed the IDF post, and as a result the terminal was closed.
The decision to reopen the Rafah Terminal follows the rebuilding of the Rafah terminal, security assessments, and measures taken to ensure the protection of those passing through the terminal and the structure itself. The Rafah Terminal has been reopened as part of a series of measures taken to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population. In accordance with these measures there are plans to reopen both Erez and Karni crossings in the future.