Pro-Gaza activists leave Egypt

admin Contributor
Font Size:

CAIRO (AP) — A group of several hundred international activists from an aid convoy to the blockaded Gaza Strip have been allowed to leave Egypt Saturday, despite earlier threats to have some arrested because they scuffled with police, an airport official said.

The official said six of the activists, who were wanted by the prosecutor general for their role in violence at El-Arish port where the convoy was delayed, were allowed to leave along with the rest.

“A higher political authority ordered that all activists be allowed to depart,” said the official without naming the authority. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

The official did not give names of the six activists, but he said two of them were Turkish, two Britons, a Kuwaiti and a Malaysian.

One group of 318 activists left on a specially chartered Turkish plane that arrived earlier in the day.

The rest of the 500 activists left earlier on several commercial flights including 43 on a Jordanian plane bound for Amman and others for London and Amsterdam.

The Viva Palestina aid convoy bound for the Gaza Strip arrived Tuesday at the nearby Mediterranean port of El-Arish where participants scuffled with Egyptian security when part of the convoy was not allowed through.

The convoy was led by British MP George Galloway who was ejected from Egypt Friday and declared persona non grata by the Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit described the aid convoy as “farcical” and said the country would no longer allow such solidarity convoys into the Hamas-run coastal area.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas overran the strip in 2007, seizing control of the territory from Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel says the blockade is meant to pressure Hamas and prevent raw materials from reaching militants, while it allows limited humanitarian supplies into the territory. A trickle of aid is allowed in through borders with Egypt and Israel.

International groups have organized several aid convoys to the coastal strip, with tons of aid, although many of the convoy are meant as a protest against the blockade.