SHAFAQNA- The director of the border crossings in the Gaza Strip, Maher Abu Sabha denied media reports that Egypt has officially informed his authority of a decision preventing Palestinians from travelling to a number of countries.
Abu Sabha said in an exclusive statement to Felesteen newspaper: “We were not officially informed of any decision of the sort” noting that Egypt has returned a number of students travelling to some countries, “but we were not officially informed of a decision”.
He pointed out that some media outlets have misquoted remarks by Ismail Abu al-jbein, an official who works at the crossing when he said that the Egyptian authorities have returned several students travelling to Turkey. He explained that according to Turkish rules only students who have legal residency permits are allowed to enter the Turkish territory.
Abu Sabha said: “The third batch of pilgrims from Gaza Strip has already left the Rafah crossing to the Egyptian side on their way to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj this year and there are three more groups scheduled to leave on Sunday”; noting that the Egyptian side have returned two pilgrims citing security reasons. However, Abu Sabha stressed that the current pilgrimage season is better than the previous seasons.
Abu Sabha said the cooperation with the Egyptian side during the pilgrimage season this year has been generally good, hoping the same cooperation will continue when the pilgrims return.
He expected that work at the crossing will resume as usual once all the pilgrims leave Gaza Strip saying: “We hope that work will resume as usual for the sick and people with foreign residency permits, the two categories currently allowed to travel and that other categories, especially students are also allowed to leave the enclave”.