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Hamas prevents Muslim pilgrims from leaving Gaza - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Witnesses say Hamas police have prevented Muslim pilgrims from leaving the Gaza Strip for Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic militant Hamas group that rules Gaza is miffed that the pilgrims coordinated their journey with the Palestinian Authority. The authority is run by Hamas’ bitter rival, the Fatah movement.

The pilgrims had intended to cross into Egypt on Saturday and to travel from there to Saudi Arabia for the holy Muslim pilgrimage. But Hamas police set up checkpoints leading to an Egyptian border crossing. Witnesses said they sent back cars that appeared to carry pilgrims.

Hamas official Abdullah Abu Jarbou says pilgrims must coordinate with the militant group.

The crackdown highlights the depth of the bitterness between the two groups. Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah-allied forces last year.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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