Gaza protesters stranded in Egypt

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt is preventing some 1,300 protesters from around the world from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.

The protesters, from more than 40 countries, are part of the Gaza Freedom March, which was organized to protest Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Some protester, including a group of grandmothers, began a hunger strike Monday morning to protest Egypt’s refusal to allow them to enter Gaza, AFP reported.

Rafah is the only crossing into Gaza that does not require going through Israeli territory.

Hundreds of the protesters gathered at a United Nations building asking the international agency to intercede with the Egyptian government to allow them to travel to Gaza. French protesters also caused a disturbance by camping out in front of the French embassy in Cairo and blocking the road, a major thoroughfare in the city, according to AFP.

The protesters are scheduled to join Palestinians in Gaza and march from northern Gaza to the Erez Crossing on the Israeli border on Dec. 31.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Cairo on Tuesday to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, Egyptian security told Reuters it would open the Rafah crossing for three days beginning on Jan. 3, to allow Palestinian students, those seeking medical attention and Egyptian residents to pass through.

 

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