Israel will allow approximately 900 Palestinians from Gaza to enter the country on the way to the hajj in Mecca.
The Gaza pilgrims began passing through the Erez crossing on their way to Saudi Arabia at midday Sunday. From the crossing they were to drive through Israel to Jericho in the West Bank, and from there to an airport in Jordan for the flight to Saudi Arabia.
The pilgrims have had a difficult time leaving Gaza for the hajj since both Israel and Egypt sealed their borders with the strip following Hamas’ takeover last summer. Egypt also opened its border to Gaza pilgrims, the first time since the Hamas takeover.
The hajj, which ends Tuesday, is a one-time obligation of every Muslim.