(MENAFN - Arab News) Israeli soldiers manning the Allenby Bridge crossing, between Jordan and West Bank barred on Friday 32 Palestinian families of prisoners and martyrs from leaving for Hajj, a Palestinian official said on Friday.
Issa Qaraqi, the Palestinian minister of detainees and ex-detainees, said that the pilgrims were ordered to go back.
Qaraqi added that his ministry was informed by the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs that Israel would not prevent any pilgrim from the families of prisoners and martyrs from going for the Hajj this year.
We made several contacts to resolve the issue, but to no avail, he said.
The pilgrims are among 200 from the West Bank who started travel to Makkah via Jordan after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed to receive them as part of King Abdullahs initiative.
The Palestinian Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs first excluded the 200 pilgrims from performing the Hajj this year, but the issue was resolved on Monday after President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayad spoke to the authorities concerned in Saudi Arabia.
King Abdullah sponsors 2,000 Palestinian pilgrims from West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and the 1948 Arab areas every year.
By Mohammed Mar'i