Airport authorities in Egypt denied reports Monday that the country has lifted restrictions on entry for Palestinians, claiming that no new instructions were given on the matter.
The unnamed security sources told Egyptian establishment daily Al-Ahram that Palestinian males between the ages of 18 and 40 are still required to obtain a visa in advance in order to enter Egypt.
Egyptian daily Al-Youm A-Sabi’ reported Monday that three Palestinians were being held at passport control in Cairo airport, awaiting deportation by land to the Rafah border crossing with a security escort, after having arrived without a visa.
The Associated Press had reported early Monday morning that seven Palestinians were allowed to enter Egypt after landing in Cairo airport with no need for entry visas and special security clearance.
It quoted airport officials saying Egypt is allowing Palestinians free entry into the country, ending part of a five-year blockade on the Gaza Strip. The decision meant Palestinians could freely leave Gaza, the report claimed, adding that it also applied to Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi had repeatedly promised throughout his election campaign to ease the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt. The matter was raised by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who visited Cairo last week, as well as by other Hamas officials.