Egypt turns back Palestinian pilgrims, mulls military action in Gaza

( Egyptian authorities turned back more than 100 Palestinians on their way to Mecca as part of their Hajj pilgrimage, citing security reasons.

A Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. Credit: Omar Chatriwala via Wikimedia Commons.

Reports say that the Egyptian military is considering military action inside Gaza if terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula continues. Egyptian aircraft have recently been conducting reconnaissance over Gaza.

“The Egyptian army does not believe the population of Gaza is involved in the violence in Sinai, but certain factions strongly support Sinai groups. The [smuggling] tunnels [connecting Gaza and the Sinai] play a major role in the communication between both sides,” a senior Egyptian official told Ma’an News Agency.

Since ousting Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July, the Egyptian military has waged an aggressive campaign against Islamic terror groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt blames Hamas, which is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and other terror groups in Gaza for supporting the Sinai terrorists. The military has destroyed several dozen Gaza smuggling tunnels and has largely kept the border sealed. 

Posted on October 4, 2013 .