Egyptian clearance for Gaza aid convoy from India

Jerusalem: Egypt has given clearance to a Gaza aid convoy, which started from India last month and has a strong Indian contingent, to dock at the Egyptian port town of El-Arish and enter the coastal strip from Rafah, a media report said on Saturday.

Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported that Palestinian lawmaker, Khaled Abdel Mejid, was informed by the Egyptian embassy in Damascus about the decision to allow 120 activists to go through, with another 46 from Iran and Jordan denied entry.

Some of the aid material in the cargo was also barred, including 10 generators donated by Iran, decreasing the size of the humanitarian aid convoy to below 300 tonnes, the report said.

The `Asia to Gaza Caravan` consists of activists from more than 15 Asian countries, including India, Iran, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Kuwait.

It was scheduled to reach Gaza by December 27, in time for the second anniversary of Israel`s 22-day offensive against Islamist Hamas regime that started on December 28, 2008.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip since June 2007 when it vanquished forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in pitched battles, claimed that Israel`s offensive left more than 1,300 casualties, many of them women and children, besides leaving a trail of irreparable destruction.

The Asia to Gaza convoy, which took off from New Delhi on December 2, is currently stuck in Latakia, Syria.

The convoys Twitter account had earlier posted an information that Egypt granted entry visas to Indian and Indonesian activists, but without permission to cross into Gaza.

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