Palestinian official says Gaza border deal is reached with Egypt to bypass Hamas

A senior Palestinian official says the Palestinian Authority has reached an agreement with Egypt to reopen the Gaza Strip's main border crossing, bypassing the territory's Hamas rulers.

Azzam al-Ahmad, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Monday the deal was recently reached in Cairo. He said it aims to open the Rafah crossing "to the maximum possible" to allow the movement of students, laborers, medical patients and even commercial goods.

Such a deal could bring great relief to Gaza, the borders of which are largely sealed by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade. It could also mark a setback for Hamas, which seized control of Gaza from Abbas in 2007.

However, Hamas is giving the plan a cool reception, raising questions about its viability.

There was no immediate Egyptian comment.