Rafah (Arabic: رفح, Hebrew: רפיח Rafiah) is a Palestinian town in the Gaza Strip, on the Egyptian border, and a nearby town on the Egyptian side of the border, on the Sinai Peninsula. Over the ages it has been known as "Robihwa" by the ancient Egyptians, "Rafihu" by the Assyrians, "Raphia" by the Greeks and Romans, "Raphiaḥ" by Israelites (as well as in Modern Hebrew) and now "Rafah". The Aramaic text Targum Onkelos interpreted the Biblical location of Hazerim as referring to Rafah, but there is no other evidence for this.
It is the largest town on the Gaza Strip - Egypt border, with a population of approximately 130,000, of which some 84,000 live in the two refugee camps about it, Canada Camp (Tell as-Sultan Camp) to the north, and Rafah camp to the south. It serves as the district capital of the Rafah Governorate. Yasser Arafat International Airport, Gaza's only airport, is located just south of the city; the airport operated from 1998 to 2001.
Rafah is the site of the Rafah Border Crossing, the only crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Formerly operated by Israeli military forces, control of the crossing was transferred to the Palestinian Authority in September 2005 as part of the larger Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. A European Union commission began monitoring the crossing in November 2005 amid Israeli security concerns, and in April 2006 Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Presidential Guard assumed responsibility for the site.