Aid convoy finally enters Gaza Strip following clashes

Aid convoy finally enters Gaza Strip following clashes

Pro-Palestinian activists led by British parliamentarian George Galloway have entered the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid, ending a long stand-off that culminated in clashes at the border, the group said Thursday, DPA reported.

Security was tight at Egypt's border crossing with the Gaza Strip at the divided town of Rafah when the Viva Palestina convoy crossed the border Wednesday night, following clashes between the activists and Egyptian police the previous night that left 20 activists and 10 police injured.

Activists and police clashed as the pro-Palestinian group protested Egypt's stipulation that 59 vehicles donated by the Turkish delegation would have to pass through Israel on their way to Gaza.

"We chose not to send these automobiles via Israel," said Viva Palestina spokesman Zaher Berawi told Cairo's al-Masry al-Youm Thursday.

"From our previous experience, and from the experiences of others, we know that aid bound for Gaza through these crossings usually ends up missing or confiscated in Israel."

Activists had hoped the vehicles could be used as ambulances in the Gaza Strip. Instead, they planned to send them to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, they said.

Egypt's border crossing on Thursday remained open for the fifth consecutive day to allow Palestinian medical patients and students stranded on either side of the border to cross.

On Wednesday, Palestinians on the Gaza side of the border clashed with Egyptian border guards when Hamas loyalists threw rocks at Egyptian troops and attempted to scale the border fence in a protest against the 3-year-old blockade.

An Egyptian border guard was fatally shot and 10 Palestinians were injured after gunfire erupted on both sides of the border, Egyptian police and Palestinian doctors said.

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