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Egypt to allow pilgrims to return to Gaza

March 18, 2019 at 12:08 pm

A woman from the first convoy, passes through the Rafah Border Gate and waits to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Border Gate following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]

Egypt announced today that it will reopen the Rafah crossing in one direction tomorrow to permit return of pilgrim who travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah to return.

Egypt allowed Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip to travel to Saudi Arabic earlier this month to perform Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) for the first time since 2014.

At the time of the announcement, at least 800 pilgrims had already obtained the necessary travel documentation from the Saudi authorities, officials from the Palestinian Ministry of Religious Endowment said.

“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 Umrah Company, told Anadolu Agency.

Egyptian officials said the opening of the border tomorrow will only allow for the return of pilgrims and no other travellers would be allowed through in either direction.

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