Monday, 2 December 2013

Egyptian-Palestinian agreement to lessen restrictions on Gaza pilgrims

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments, Mahmud al-Habbash, unveiled on Saturday the details of an Egyptian-Palestinian agreement to open Rafah crossing twice a month in order to facilitate the passage of Gazans on pilgrimage to Mecca.

Al-Habbash told Ma'an that he visited Egypt recently and successfully concluded an agreement with Egyptian authorities to open Rafah crossing once every two weeks in order to allow pilgrims to leave the Gaza Strip for Umrah.

Umrah is similar to Hajj, except that it can be undertaken by Muslims at any time of year.

Al-Habbash added that the agreement will be implemented starting from the middle of December and will continue until next Ramadan, which falls in June and July of the Gregorian calendar.

Al-Habbash also pointed out that the openings will be coordinated to so that pilgrims leaving the Gaza Strip and those entering will come and go on the same day. more