Rafah Border Opened Briefly to Allow Return of Palestinian Pilgrims

The Cairo airport is the only area from which Palestinians can travel abroad. (Photo: via twitter.com)

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip early on Sunday morning, after opening it to allow the return of Palestinian pilgrims who traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.

An Egyptian security source at Rafah told Ma’an News that 474 Palestinian pilgrims had crossed into the Gaza Strip since Saturday night.

Egypt will reopen the Rafah crossing on Wednesday for three days to facilitate the return of the rest of Palestinian pilgrims, the security source added.


Palestinians in Gaza must receive permission from the Egyptian government to travel to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, as the airport in Cairo is the only avenue by which Gazans can to travel abroad.

Due to the constraints on Palestinian movement through the crossing, most Palestinians are commonly barred from leaving or entering the Gaza Strip, sometimes for months at a time, as the crossing is only periodically opened by Egyptian authorities.


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