Gaza Palestinians use Israel as byway


About 100 Palestinians stranded in Egypt since Hamas’ mid-June takeover of the Gaza Strip began returning to Gaza via Israel on Sunday.

Under a deal worked out Saturday, Israel agreed to allow more than 600 Palestinians to cross into Israel from Egypt on their way home to Gaza. Israeli officials said they would supervise the process to ensure no wanted terrorists are among those returning to Gaza and that none of the returnees are carrying money earmarked for Hamas.

The Palestinians, who had been stranded in Egypt since the Rafah crossing was closed in June following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, were taken by Egyptian buses to Nitzana, where they crossed into Israel. From there they were ferried to the Erez crossing, where they entered northern Gaza.

Israel’s Gaza Liaison Administration had planned to use the Kerem Shalom crossing that connects Gaza, Israel and Egypt, but the plan was discarded after Hamas threatened to shell the Palestinians as they entered Gaza.

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