Second Gaza mission arrives safely after 11-hour trip


KUALA LUMPUR: A delegation from the Malaysian Islamic Organisations Consultative Council (Mapim) arrived safely in Gaza after almost 11 hours on the road following a roadblock imposed by Egyptian authorities on their way to the border at Rafah.

Mapim secretary-general Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, who heads a 33-member second Ramadan mission to Gaza (RADIG 2), said they finally entered Gaza yesterday despite being held up for long periods of time at several checkpoints.

He said after being confirmed that it had approval from Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, police escorted the delegation’s bus until the tourist city of El-Arish before soldiers escorted them to Rafah at 5.15pm local time.

“The journey was not as easy as we expected and required much patience.

“However, things became smooth after several unexpected events, such as the second roadblock where we had to wait almost two hours before we could move forward,” said Mohd Azmi in an e-mail.

He said the delegation felt fortunate to have been escorted by police until El-Arish and by army personnel from there to Rafah to ensure they arrived at their destination safely.

He said mission members were elated that despite arriving at the immigration hall at 6pm when it was about to close, immigration officers let them through to continue their mission.

He added that many of them could not contain their excitement after stepping foot in Gaza, especially those who were there for the first time.

Mohd Azmi said the members were in high spirits and ready to go through their packed schedule, which included the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the construction of the Gaza Children’s Hospital as well as discussions on media cooperation and education.

He also said they were grateful to those who prayed for their safety.

He added that mission members would carry out the responsibility entrusted by Malaysians who wanted to see Palestinians live a better life. – Bernama


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