Around a hundred Palestinians stranded in Egypt since mid-June are heading back home to the Gaza Strip under a deal struck with Israel. They are some of thousands of Palestinians who had fled fighting between warring factions in Gaza and have been trapped on the Egyptian side of the border since Hamas took power.
“I left all my relatives and friends behind,” said one refugee, adding that they were selected at random and half of them were having to stay at the border with Egypt. “The road is very bad and it’s very far. We would rather cross at the Rafah gate,” he said.
The Rafah checkpoint has been shut since June, and the refugees are being forced to travel through Israel to the northern Erez crossing to enter the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has rejected the deal, insisting that Israel should allow the Palestinians to use the Rafah crossing.
An estimated 6,000 Palestinians have been trapped in Egypt since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June, and it is not known when they will be able to return home.
Earlier, the Rafah border was the scene of a demonstration by a group of Palestinian children calling on authorities to re-open the gates.