Cairo has opened the sole land crossing between Egypt and Gaza on its border in the town of Rafah in order to allow Palestinian Authority Arabs to make their way to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
The border crossing will be open this week from Tuesday through Thursday to facilitate the holy Islamic pilgrimage, Egyptian officials said, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.
Some 2,008 Gaza residents obtained visas to fly to Mecca from the Cairo airport for the ritual.
The crossing was last opened in early July, when 3,099 residents entered Egypt via the Rafah crossing during a five-day open period for “humanitarian purposes.”
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, and a religious obligation for all adult Muslims that must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey without causing undue hardship to their families during the process.
Muslims from around the world will be traveling on pilgrimage to Mecca for the Hajj, and millions had already arrived at the Grand Mosque by early Monday morning, with many have slept outside on the smooth white marble paving outside the massive house of worship in their simple white garments as prescribed for hajj.
Saudi authorities have warned they will forcefully stop any disruptions among the faithful that might erupt over the civil war raging in Syria, according to The Telegraph.Hana Levi Julian