World Bulletin / News Desk
In a statement, Gaza’s border authority said 775 pilgrims had departed the strip on Tuesday, 14 of whom were turned back by the Egyptian authorities for unspecified reasons.
Last week, Egypt announced that the crossing would be temporarily opened to pilgrims intending to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
More than 2,000 Palestinians from Gaza are expected to make the pilgrimage this year, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Religious Endowments.
Fully blockaded by Israel since 2007, when Palestinian resistance movement Hamas wrested control of the small coastal enclave, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world.
Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh -- the Rafah crossing -- is controlled by Egypt.
Since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi -- Egypt’s first freely-elected president -- in a 2013 military coup, the Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing tightly sealed for the most part.