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Egyptian aid convoy to Gaza stopped at border crossing

Last Updated: Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 22:59

Cairo: Egyptian army forces Thursday stopped a medical aid convoy to war-torn Gaza for not having an official permit, at the Rafah border crossing.

The convoy, consisting of 10 participants - doctors and members of the Popular Campaign to support the Palestinian Intifada, left Cairo at today at dawn heading to the Rafah border crossing.

But the convoy was blocked by army forces near Al Qantarah El Sharqiyya, a northeastern Egyptian city on the eastern side of the Suez Canal located in the Egyptian governorate of Ismailia in the Sinai Peninsula, 160 kilometres northeast of Cairo.

"An army officer told us that we have to have an official permit issued by the army`s military intelligence," said Tamer Qenawi, a member of the campaign.

Qenawi told Sada el-Balad TV that the members of the campaign will negotiate with the officer again as they won`t return to Cairo without delivering the aid to Gaza.

Last week, an 11-bus convoy was also denied access to the Rafah crossing for the same reason.

The authorities stopped the convoy at Balouza checkpoint, 150 kms south west of the Rafah border, where the aid was scheduled to be delivered to Palestinians.

After the convoy reached the checkpoint, the authorities told them that they were not allowed to enter Gaza for their security.

The Egyptian-controlled border crossing has been opened a few times since the start of Israel`s offensive as an "exceptional" measure to transport injured Palestinians to North Sinai hospitals and deliver Egyptian as well as Arab aid to Gaza.

The Rafah crossing has been closed for most of the time since the military ouster of Egypt`s President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, due to security concerns related to the spike in Islamist militancy in Sinai.

First Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 22:59

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