Report Egypt to increase trade with Gaza

The Egyptian authorities have pledged to increase commercial trade and travel with Gaza and keep the Rafah Crossing open from Sunday, Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper reported today.

More construction materials, including iron and a supply of "large quantities of goods" will be imported into Gaza through the Rafah Crossing.

Additionally, the export of goods from Gaza, including agricultural products, handicrafts and furniture, will also reportedly be allowed to external markets.

A senior Hamas delegation has been in Cairo since Sunday. They held talks with Egyptian intelligence chief, Abbas Kamel, and discussed several issues, including the issue of the prisoner swap and the easing of the 15-year Israeli siege of Gaza, the Hamas source said.

The delegation also received a commitment from Egypt to allow Palestinian traders to travel through the Rafah Crossing and to allow them into Cairo through coordination carried out by the Gaza Chamber of Commerce, the Interior Ministry in Gaza and Egyptian Authorities.

According to Al-Akhbar, Egypt plans to install electronic monitoring devices at the Rafah Crossing in order to prevent the smuggling of weapons and dual-use items into the Gaza Strip, as part of an agreement reached by Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett.

The Rafah border is the main exit and entry point for two million Palestinians living in Gaza. Israel has imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip since 2007, which Egypt has supported by closing its border with the enclave.

People, goods and even basic necessities such as food and fuel are restricted, leaving Palestinians in Gaza with only a few hours of electricity a day and no access to the outside world.