Aid workers on hunger strike after Gaza entry refused

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RAFAH: Nine European aid workers and medics have gone on hunger strike at the Rafah border crossing to protest against Egypt s decision not to allow them into the Gaza Strip, one of them said on Wednesday.

The five British citizens, three Belgians and one Greek have been on hunger strike since Tuesday in protest at the authorities refusal to let them into the impoverished and besieged Palestinian enclave, Sonia Robbins told AFP.

Some of us have been here for 50 days. We keep getting refused for different reasons… Sitting here wasn t enough so we decided we would go on hunger strike, she said.

The five humanitarian workers, three doctors and one nurse are sitting opposite the Rafah border terminal, she added.

Robbins, a British reconstructive surgeon, works with Mercy Malaysia, a non-profit organization that helps provide medical relief to vulnerable communities around the world.

Others in the group belong to the British-based Palestine International Medical Aid (PIMA).

It is beyond comprehension that the Egyptian authorities do not allow them entry despite all the talk about humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, PIMA director Ahmed Almari said on the group s website, calling on the Cairo government to let the group through.

The Rafah border crossing has been largely closed since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The terminal which is managed by Egypt is the only access point into the Palestinian territory that is not controlled by Israel. -AFP

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