CAIRO: The Egyptian authorities opened Wednesday the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip in one director for four days to facilitate the return from the Hajj of around Palestinian pilgrims, Egyptian officials at the crossing told Youm7.
It is scheduled that 250 Palestinian pilgrims, coming from Cairo International Airport, will cross into the Palestinian side amid intensified security measures, the official said.
All pilgrims will cross in four groups and the forces are on high alert in the vicinity of the border and along the international road to accelerate the passengers’ flights to Gaza, which is under Israeli blockade since 2007.
On Aug. 20, four Palestinians were kidnapped evening by unknown assailants in restive North Sinai. Eye-witnesses told al-Arabyia that armed assailants belonging to Wilayat Sinai (previously known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which then announced its loyalty to the Islamic State group in November 2014) intercepted a car with five Palestinians once it entered Egypt.
Egypt temporarily opened Sept. 30 the crossing in one direction to allow 500 Palestinian pilgrims to return home. 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.
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.