The Palestine News and Information Center, affiliated with the Hamas movement, reported on Tuesday evening that the Egyptian Authorities prevented six Palestinian officials, including two Hamas ministers, from leaving the Gaza Strip for pilgrimage in Mecca. The six headed to the Rafah Border Crossing, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, but the Egyptian Authorities did not allow them through.

The six are; Hamas legislators of the Change and Reform Bloc, Ismail Al Ashqar, and Dr. Salem Salama, in addition to member of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Jihad, Mohammad Al Hindi, along with Hamas officials Mohye Ed Deen Abu Doqqa, and Eyad Al Dajani.

Zakariyya Daghmash, Secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, who accompanied the officials, was also prevented from crossing.
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said that the decision was unfortunate and demanded Egypt to allow the officials through.

Khalid Al Batsh of the Islamic Jihad said that his movement will be contacting the Egyptian Authorities in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Hamas legislator, Ismail Al Ashqar, slammed the Egyptian decision and said that he was surprised to learn that Egypt prevented the six officials from crossing into Egypt while on their way to Mecca.

Al Ashqar stated he hopes Egypt would reconsider its decision, and added that this issue harms Egypt’s image and its position as a leading Arab country and as a mediator in internal Palestinian unity talks.