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Egypt allows 100 protesters to enter Gaza

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt allowed 100 protesters from around the world to enter the Gaza Strip for a solidarity march with Palestinian residents.

Another 1,200 activists from more than 40 countries who wanted to participate in the Gaza Freedom March remained in Cairo on Wednesday.

"Two buses with 100 delegates on board left this morning for Gaza," Ann Wright, an organizer of the Gaza Freedom March, told the news agency AFP on Wednesday. The buses were set to enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, the only entry point into Gaza that does not require going through Israeli territory.

The protesters were scheduled to join Palestinians in Gaza and march from northern Gaza to the Erez Crossing at the Israeli border on Thursday. The march, which coincides with the one-year anniversary of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, was organized to protest Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled strip.

The activists have held several small protests throughout Cairo, which in some cases have been broken up by riot police, according to reports.

Meanwhile, an aid convoy with more than 200 trucks full of basic food supplies and medicines led by British lawmaker George Galloway continued its effort to reach Gaza. The The Viva Palestina aid convoy, organized to mark the anniversary of the start of the Gaza war, departed from London on Dec. 6 on a route that would take it through the Jordanian port of Akaba into Egypt, and then onto Gaza. But Egyptian authorities held the convoy up at the border and asked that it arrive in Egypt via the country’s Mediterranean coast instead of via Akaba, which is on the Red Sea. So on Tuesday the trucks went to the Syrian port of Latakia in order to set sail on the Mediterranean, with the aim of reaching Egypt at the El-Arish port on the Mediterranean coast. Eventually, the convoy intends to enter Gaza through Rafah. Some 450 human rights activists reportedly are accompanying the convoy.

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