Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for return of Palestinian pilgrims
The Rafah border crossing with Gaza - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO:  Egypt has temporarily opened the Rafah border crossing in one direction Wednesday to allow 500 Palestinian pilgrims to return home, Al Masry Al-Youm reported.

The pilgrims, families of Palestinian people killed in clashes with the Israeli forces, recently performed the Hajj rituals at the expense of the Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz.

The Egyptian authorities provided buses to transfer the Palestinian pilgrims upon arrival to Cairo airport to the Rafah crossing on their way to the Gaza Strip, an official source at the crossing told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

On Sept. 6, the crossing was opened for three days to receive batches of Palestinian pilgrims arriving Egypt to head to Saudi Arabia to perform their pilgrimage, Youm7 reported.

Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs in Gaza, Hassan Al Saifi, told Youm7 that the total Palestinian pilgrims for this year reached 6,000 pilgrims, including 2,450 from Gaza and the rest from the West Bank.

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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