Rafah border continues to allow Palestinian pilgrims
Palestinian women wave as they sit in a bus before leaving the Rafah border crossing for the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca, in the southern Gaza Strip September 7, 2015. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

CAIRO: A new batch of Palestinian pilgrims have arrived at the Egypt-Gaza border, heading to Cairo International Airport to join hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Saudi Arabia to perform the annual event of Hajj, Youm7 reported Thursday.

Some 500 pilgrims from Gaza are expected to come through the Rafah crossing, according to an anonymous border official, who said that state of emergency has been raised and workers’ vacations have been canceled until travelers make their way to the airport.

The source added that each bus carrying Gazan pilgrims is escorted by security forces.

The border has received more than 1,000 pilgrims from Gaza between Sept. 7-9.

Muslims worldwide are currently flocking into the kingdom to perform the Hajj, meaning pilgrimage; one of the five pillars of Islam.  This year the rituals start Sept. 22.

The last time Rafah crossing, which is the only way for Gazans to move in and out of the Gaza Strip, opened was in August for four days allowing students, humanitarian cases and patients to cross in both directions.

In October 2014, the crossing was closed indefinitely by the Egyptian authorities in both directions after coordinated attacks that killed 27 armed forces personnel in Sheikh Zuwayed.

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