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International Border Crossing in Gaza Opens to Traffic


Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip crossed into Egypt Saturday, without having to submit to Israeli security checks, for the first time in nearly 40 years.

The Palestinian Authority officially took control of the Rafah crossing, Friday. Saturday, the first busload of Palestinians moved through its terminal at around noon local time (10 hours GMT). The border was expected to remain open for four hours.

European monitors will be stationed at the border, while Israeli and Palestinian officials will watch Rafah from a distance on closed-circuit television monitors. The border is expected to open 24 hours a day once all 70 monitors arrive and are settled.

The crossing is Gaza's only link to the outside world. Israel closed it in September after withdrawing its troops following a 38-year occupation. Israel agreed to reopen it after the United States brokered a deal using the European monitors.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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