Dozens of Palestinians are being held at Cairo International Airport after Egypt closed its border with the Gaza Strip.
Egypt’s army closed the Rafah crossing on Friday, citing unrest in Sinai. Palestinians flying into Cairo airport have been forced to either return to the countries they flew in from, or wait in deportation rooms at the airport.
Passenger Ahmad al-Jamal was taken for medical treatment on Monday after going on hunger strike at the airport, other passengers said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians are stranded on the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing, waiting for the terminal to reopen.
Over 900 pilgrims are stuck in Saudi Arabia after performing the Umrah pilgrimage. They are not allowed to fly into Cairo as they will be stuck there until Egypt reopens the Rafah terminal.
Travelers said Egyptian airlines were refusing to let Palestinians board due as they would not be able to transit to Gaza.
Maher Abu Sabha, Palestinian general director of crossings, told Ma’an that communications at the highest level were ongoing to reopen Rafah crossing.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights expressed concern over the travelers’ plight on Monday, noting that Rafah crossing is “the sole outlet for the movement of the population of the Gaza Strip to the outside world.”
“This situation reveals again the reality of the situation in the Gaza Strip under the policy of collective punishment and the closure of all border crossings by Israeli authorities for more than six years,” the PCHR said in a statement.
The closure denies 1.7 million Palestinians freedom of movement to and from Gaza, the center said.
“According to PCHR’s observations, hundreds of Palestinians, including dozens of patients, Palestinian families living in other countries and university students who study abroad, have been stuck in Egypt waiting to be allowed to travel back to the Gaza Strip,” the PCHR added.
The center also expressed concern that Palestinians held at Cairo International Airport were being held in inhuman conditions.