“Almost 400 of us, mostly Egyptian activists in AlShifa hospital #Gaza for solidarity rally. We got convoy through Rafah, who would’ve thought?” tweeted an Egypt-based activist late Sunday as the group begun their visit to the city by visiting a Gaza hospital.
A bus convoy transporting members of several Egyptian parties and political movements arrived at the country’s Rafah border crossing with Gaza, officials said, as Israeli airstrikes pounded the coastal enclave for a fifth day,
“We want the free world to stop the onslaught on defenseless civilians,” said Mahmoud Ali of the Constitution Party, according to state-owned news agency MENA. “We want to relay to the steadfast Palestinian people the support of all Egyptians.”
The Egyptian online newspaper, Ahram Online, reported the number of activists crossing into Gaza had reached 550, with the convoy including eight buses, along with several other smaller vehicles.
“We brought them medical supplies in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent,” activist Amira Sheaishaa said.
“We all entered through Rafah border … 100s now attempting to enter Gaza,” activist Gigi Ibrahim said on her Twitter account, according to AFP.
But early Monday, members of the delegation began tweeting that they were witness to “large explosions” which shook Gaza.
“Jesus that was close. Massive explosion next to us by Al-Sifaa [sic] hospital followed by another one on other side. Ambulances coming in #Gaza,” Twiter user @Beltrew, a Cairo-based journalist, posted on the microblogging site.
Israeli air strikes on Sunday killed at least 31 Palestinians in the bloodiest day of its massive air campaign to halt rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Egypt is at the center of efforts to broker a ceasefire. Security officials in Cairo said an Israeli envoy also arrived in the Egyptian capital on Sunday for talks.
Under former President Hosni Mubarak, relief convoys were seldom allowed to cross into Gaza.