Hamas say Egypt to fully reopen Gaza border despite PA pullout

Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas stand guard in the southern Gaza Strip at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on January 8, 2019 (AFP Photo/SAID KHATIB)

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas said Thursday that Egypt plans to fully reopen its border crossing with the enclave, days after partially closing it amid infighting between Palestinian factions.

Forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas withdrew on Sunday from the Rafah border crossing, accusing rivals Hamas of interference.

The crossing is the only way for Palestinians to leave Gaza that bypasses Israel.

Egypt has prevented Gazans from leaving the enclave since Abbas's Palestinian Authority withdrew its staff.

An Egyptian security delegation visited Gaza on Thursday, meeting with senior Hamas officials including its head Ismail Haniya.

Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of Hamas, told journalists the Egyptians "assured us that there will be no changes at the Rafah border and it will stay open".

It was not immediately clear when the crossing would fully reopen.

Hayya said he expected that all sides would also stick to an informal truce agreement with Israel.

Hamas employees retook the post on Monday in what they said was an attempt to maintain border control after the shock PA withdrawal.

Separately on Thursday, a senior Hamas official announced Haniya had put on hold a planned trip to Russia.