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Gazans to perform Umrah pilgrimage after 5 year hiatus

For the first time since 2014, Gazan's will be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia via the Rafah crossing

March 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm

Egypt will allow Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to perform the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) – via the Rafah border crossing – for the first time since 2014.

Last month, Yusuf Ideis, Palestinian minister of religious endowments, announced the resumption of Umrah journeys from the blockaded Gaza Strip following a five-year hiatus.

According to ministry sources, a first batch of pilgrims will set out from Gaza to Saudi Arabia on March 3.

These include at least 800 pilgrims who have already obtained the necessary travel documentation from the Saudi authorities, the sources said.

READ: Saudi bars Palestinians of Israel from Hajj, Umrah 

“The offices of pilgrimage travel companies in Gaza have been inundated by those seeking to perform the sacred journey,” Awad Abu Mazkour, chairman of Gaza’s Hajj and UmrahCompany, told Anadolu Agency.

Since late 2014, Gazans have been unable to make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia due to Egypt’s continued closure of the Rafah border crossing.

In January, the Egyptian authorities eased travel restrictions through the crossing, which links Israeli-blockaded Gaza to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.