A Palestinian girl looks out of a car upon her return with her family to Gaza, at Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
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Egypt blocked Palestinians from entering the country from Gaza Tuesday after Palestinian Authority personnel pulled out of the Rafah border crossing and Hamas officers took their place.Human rights groups say Rafah has been the sole exit point from Gaza for an estimated 95 percent of its population of 2 million. PA employees were deployed to Gaza's border crossings with Israel and Egypt in 2017, a move that largely opened up Rafah for two-way traffic, after Egyptian mediation led to a Palestinian reconciliation deal, which has since faltered.A Palestinian official who maintains close contacts with Egypt said Cairo had decided to open Rafah crossing only to Palestinians returning to Gaza, after the PA personnel withdrew.An Egyptian official in Cairo said he did not expect Rafah to be shut completely.
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