Sunday, 5 January 2014

'Miles of Smiles' aid convoy denied entry to Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities refused to allow an aid convoy headed for Gaza through the Rafah crossing, an activist committee said.

A humanitarian aid convoy entitled "Miles of Smiles 24" was prevented from entering the coastal enclave despite special arrangements made previously with Egyptian authorities to enter on Saturday, deputy manager of a Gaza government committee against the siege Alaa al-Battah told Ma'an.

Al-Battah highlighted that the convoy was carrying humanitarian aid, including medicines and accommodation equipment, for Gaza residents who suffered serious property damages during the winter storm Alexa which hit the area in December.

The aid is accompanied by a convoy of 127 solidarity activists from Arab and European countries including Jordan, Algeria, Malaysia, UK, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Bahrain, among many others. more

Italian solidarity delegation denied entry to Egypt after Gaza visit

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities on Saturday evening denied Italian solidarity activists entry to Egypt and sent them back to the Gaza Strip after they waited three hours at the Rafah crossing, Gaza officials said.

An official at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing told Ma'an that 23 Italian solidarity activists were asked to return to Gaza "because there were no special coordination arrangements for their departure."

The activists were told by the Italian embassy in Cairo to head to Rafah crossing, the official added.

The Italian delegation had been visiting the Gaza Strip since Thursday evening. They came to express solidarity with the besieged coastal enclave and brought with them quantities of medicines and medical aid.

The visitors also paid visits to refugee camps across the Gaza Strip where they met with representatives of civil society organizations and bereaved families. more