By Hussein Mahmoud
Egyptian authorities have detained seven Palestinian pilgrims upon their return from Saudi Arabia, according to a local security source.
The seven pilgrims were detained at Cairo airport and questioned on alleged links to terrorism in North Sinai, the source told Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.
A source with the Palestinian embassy in Cairo confirmed that the seven pilgrims from the Gaza Strip were held by Egyptian authorities upon return from the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage.
The source, however, denied that the seven were charged with terrorism.
“The issue is now with the Egyptian authorities,” he said.
Egyptian authorities have not yet released any official statement on the reported arrests.
Earlier this month, Egyptian authorities had allowed more than 2,900 pilgrims from the blockaded Gaza Strip to cross the Rafah border crossing, which links the Palestinian territory to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, to perform Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Since mid-2013, when Mohamed Morsi -- Egypt’s first freely-elected president -- was ousted in a military coup, hundreds of Egyptian security personnel have been killed in Sinai amid a militant insurgency that remains ongoing.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.