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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2005, 19:10 GMT
In pictures: Rafah re-opens

A Palestinian traveller at the Rafah border crossing

Palestinians took control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt for the first time. The crossing is a vital gateway to the outside world for Gaza┐s residents and the strip's economy.

A Palestinian couple sits next to their luggage as they wait to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border

Hundreds of Palestinians had camped outside the terminal for days waiting for the momentous event.

Palestinians rush to get their passports checked before entering the Rafah border terminal

There was huge excitement as people surged towards the terminal to have their passports checked.

Palestinian policemen try to control the crowd of people waiting for their passports to be checked

Palestinian police struggled to stop the crowd massing around the passport desks.

Palestinians hold their passports to be checked at the passport control terminal at Rafah

More than 1,500 people crossed the border on the first day, European Union monitors said.

Taxis carry Palestinian passengers who have crossed the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt

Taxis and buses bursting with luggage ferried people to and from the terminal.

Palestinians push their luggage as they arrive to the Rafah border crossing

Many people spoke of their relief at no longer having to run the gauntlet of Israeli security checks.

Three members of EU's border monitoring mission at the Rafah border crossing

The terminal will initially open for four hours a day and be supervised by the EU's monitoring mission.

Palestinian waits for his passport to be checked at Rafah terminal

Israel will also continue to monitor the crossing, using television screens from a base a few kilometres away.




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