810 Palestinian pilgrims cross into Egypt to perform hajj
Gaza Strip - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing for the second day after 810 Palestinian pilgrims crossed into Egypt to travel to Mecca Monday.

The pilgrims were escorted by heavy security from Rafah to Cairo Airport. In late August, four Palestinians were kidnapped in North Sinai after they crossed the Rafah Crossing by unknown armed men. No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

A total of 6,000 Palestinians will perform the pilgrimage to Mecca this year, 2,450 of whom are from the Gaza Strip, Youm7 reported. The crossing has largely been open only to pilgrims, “humanitarian cases,” Palestinians with foreign passports and students since Hamas took over the strip in 2007.

The Hajj, expected to fall this year on Sept. 23, is a series of rituals performed in the holy city of Mecca to re-enact the actions of the Prophet Muhammad. It coincides with the celebration of Eid-el-Adha (feast of the sacrifice.)

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