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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Egypt not allowing Hamas members to return from Hajj?

Ma'an (Arabic) is reporting that Egypt is not allowing the Gaza Hajj pilgrims to return through the Rafah crossing, from where they came. 1200 of the pilgrims are stranded at the Gulf of Aqaba and Egypt is saying that they can only re-enter Gaza through the Keren Shalom crossing, which is controlled by Israel. The report further confirms earlier Israeli claims that some of the "pilgrims" were Hamas members who refuse to go through Keren Shalom because they would be arrested by Israel.

The anti-Hamas Palestine Press Agency quotes Debka as saying that a number of top Hamas officials, including Khalil al Haya, had left Gaza through Rafah and met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Mecca. PalPress also quoted an Israeli source (possibly also Debka) that at this meeting, Iran gave some $50 million to the Hamas leaders to keep their terror attacks against Israel going.

It makes sense that after meeting with Israeli leaders at Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday the Egyptian government might have had second thoughts about allowing Hamas members to travel freely between Gaza and the rest of the world through Egypt.

At any rate, these are the first confirmations I've seen to the original Jerusalem Post article I previously linked to (no longer online) saying that Israel identified terrorists who had left Gaza through Rafah.

UPDATE: Ma'an now has the English story.