World Bulletin/News Desk
Egyptian authorities authorized on Sunday the passage of a Malaysian delegation into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing after initially refusing to allow their access into the Palestinian enclave, the organizer of the visit said.
"The delegation is composed of six Malaysian journalists who will be staying in the Gaza Strip for two weeks to write news reports on the suffering of Gaza's residents," Omar Siam, head of the Aman Malaysia organization which organized the visit, told reporters at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing.
Alaa al-Batta, Gaza's Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, pointed out that this is the 15th foreign delegation to visit Gaza through Egypt since last July.
"The closure of the Rafah border reduced the influx of solidarity convoys to Gaza by 95 percent," he told Anadolu Agency.
The delegation had failed to enter the strip through the crossing for four past times, the Governmental Committee for Receiving Delegates, an affiliate of the Foreign Ministry of Gaza, said in a statement earlier in the day.
It noted the members of the delegation had spent eight days in Egypt in hopes to enter the Gaza Strip.
Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing on Saturday after 49 days of closure to allow the passage of medical patients. The crossing would be open until Monday.
Gazans complain that the closure of the crossing, which served as Gaza's only access to the outside world, has increased their suffering amid an Israeli blockade that has persisted since 2007.
Egypt has tightened its grip on the border with Gaza since last July's ouster of Mohamed Morsi – the country's first freely elected president – by the army.
Egyptian authorities accuse Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, of interfering in Egypt's domestic affairs and carrying out attacks inside the country, charges that Hamas has repeatedly denied.
Last Mod: 30 Mart 2014, 18:44