Gaza goes to Hajj

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SHAFAQNA - Joining millions of Muslims worldwide, hundreds of Palestinian pilgrims will embark on hajj journeys on Sunday, September 6, through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing, with hopes to return homes after all their sins are washed away.

“All arrangements for the holy journey have been completed,” head of Hajj and Umrah Authority in Gaza Strip, Mohammad Abdulbari, told KUNA news agency on Friday, September 4.

About 2,450 Gaza pilgrims will leave to Saudi Arabia through Egypt on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Divided into three batches, each containing 850 people, pilgrims will take buses bounding for Cairo International Airport from Rafah crossing that will be opened for Gaza pilgrims in the coming days.

“Gaza pilgrims used to travel from the nearby Al­Areesh Airport in Northern Sinai, but this year Egyptian authorities announced that they could travel through Cairo International Airport as Al­Areesh Airport is not ready for receiving them due to the security situation in Sinai,” Abdulbari said.

He added that the new route will add 12 more hours to hajj journey from Gaza.

Arrangement for the transport and accommodation of pilgrims will be done by Egyptian companies, Saudi hotels, and travel agencies, according to the head of Hajj and Umrah travel agencies society, Awad Abumathkour.

The hajj official added that Saudi has granted 1,000 free Hajj visas for families of the Palestinian martyrs and prisoners in Israeli jails.

The kingdom has also offered 500 more hajj visas for Palestinians in the West Bank and 500 visas for those in Gaza Strip.

Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.

Hajj 2015 is anticipated to fall between September 20 and September 25, taking place from the 8th to the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Hijri calendar.

 

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