Gaza pilgrims allowed through Egypt border for Hajj

2,450 Palestinians leave blockaded Gaza Strip to take part in annual Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia

Gaza pilgrims allowed through Egypt border for Hajj

World Bulletin / News Desk

Egyptian authorities allowed Monday a first batch of Palestinians to leave the blockaded Gaza Strip through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing to perform the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, according to a Palestinian official.

"The [Egypt-Gaza] Rafah crossing will be opened for three days to allow 2,450 Palestinians to make the Hajj pilgrimage," said Mahmoud al-Neirb, deputy minister for religious affairs in the Palestinian unity government.

Egypt has tightened its grip on the border with the blockaded Gaza Strip since mid-2013, when Mohamed Morsi -- the country’s first freely-elected president -- was ousted and imprisoned in a military coup.

Egyptian officials cite recent attacks on army and police personnel in the northern Sinai Peninsula when justifying Egypt’s closed-border policy.

International rights groups, meanwhile, continue to warn of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip -- which is home to almost 2 million Palestinians -- if the years-long Egyptian/Israeli blockade remains intact.

Last Mod: 08 Eylül 2015, 09:06
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