Gaza, MINA – The first batch of pilgrims from the blockaded Gaza Strip landed in Jeddah International Airport on Tuesday in a one-month trip to perform Hajj (Greater Pilgrimage).
Undersecretary of the Religious Affairs Ministry in Gaza, Hasan al-Seifi, said the first batch of pilgrims arrived in Jeddah after the Egyptian authorities allowed them to pass through the Rafah border crossing as part of an exceptional four-day opening.
789 Palestinian pilgrims from Gaza crossed the terminal while 17 were banned by the Egyptian authorities on security grounds, PIC reported, Thursday(15/8).
Another 800 pilgrims are set to cross the passageway on way to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, among 2,900 registered pilgrims who are expected to fly to the kingdom during the four-day opening.
The Hajj – a major tenet of Islam to cleanse sins and bring worshipers closer to God – will start by the end of this month. More than two million pilgrims are expected to perform the ritual this year.
Blockaded by Israel — by air, land and sea — since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been grappling with a tough blockade, leaving thousands of sick civilians and humanitarian cases stranded in the world’s largest “open air prison.”(T/R04/RS5)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)