Local sources reported that 180 Egyptian citizens, many of them women and children have been stranded in the Gaza Strip since the demolition of the Rafah border wall in January.

Most of the Egyptians crossed into Gaza to visit relatives and friends after Palestinians destroyed the border wall with explosives, breaking the blockade and opening the border for the first time in months. Hundreds of thousands of people crossed the border in both directions. Egypt then resealed the border, stranding its own citizens in Gaza.

The families initially lived in a snake and insect-infested camp near the Rafah border, waiting for the Egyptian government to allow them to return home. For food and supplies they relied on the kindness of already impoverished Gazans.

Later, officials in the de-facto government in Gaza decided to house the Egyptians in the Al-Quds secondary school in Rafah.

The Islamic Society, a charitable organization, has provided assistance to the Egyptians in the form of food, medical care, and supplies. The Arab Doctors’ union is funding the assistance program.

Ibrahim Zu’rub, the coordinator of the Islamic Society, said that the stranded Egyptians are contemplating a hunger strike to draw attention to their plight.

Among the group of 180, Zu’rub said that 45 are children and approximately 60 are women.