By Ola Atallah
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Egypt kept its border with the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip open for the second day in a row on Thursday to allow medical patients and Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side to cross.
"The Rafah border crossing was opened for the second consecutive day to allow medical patients to depart [the Gaza Strip] and allow stranded Palestinians in," read a Thursday statement issued by Gaza’s border authority.
According to the statement, 330 Palestinians -- including medical patients, students enrolled in foreign universities and those holding foreign residencies -- left the coastal enclave on Wednesday while 91 were allowed back into the strip from Egypt.
Egyptian state television announced on Tuesday that the crossing would be temporarily opened on June 1 and 2 (Wednesday and Thursday) and 4 and 5 (Saturday and Sunday).
Since the ouster of elected President Mohamed Morsi in a 2013 military coup, Egypt has kept the border with the Gaza Strip tightly sealed for the most part.
During 2015, the Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing for a total of only 21 days to limited traffic, according to Gaza’s Interior Ministry.
Last month, the ministry announced that some 30,000 Gazans were desperately waiting to cross the border, including 4,000 seeking medical treatment abroad.
The long periods of closure at the crossing -- Gaza's only means of access to the outside world not under Israeli control -- have brought the coastal enclave’s roughly 1.9 million inhabitants to the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, has consistently urged Egypt’s post-coup authorities to open the border on a permanent basis.