A Palestinian woman sits next to her luggage as she waits to cross to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing.
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For most of the past decade, Egypt has been a quiet partner with Israel in a blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that has stifled the economy and largely blocked its 2 million people from moving in and out of the territory.Egypt's state-run media have repeatedly accused Hamas of collaborating with militants in Egypt, a charge the group denies.In Gaza, years of Egyptian restrictions, coupled with an Israeli blockade and three wars between Hamas and Israel, have devastated the economy and weakened Hamas.In addition, it allowed a Malaysian official to enter Gaza to meet with Hamas officials.Participants said the issue of creating a trade zone between Gaza and Egypt was raised.With Egypt still locked in battle against Islamist extremists in Sinai, any change will likely be slow and cautious, and could depend greatly on Hamas' own actions.
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