Prisoner families ‘barred from leaving West Bank’ 19Oct12 October 19, 2012

Ma’an News Agency   -   18 October 2012

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel has barred the families of 14 Palestinian detainees from departing for a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, released prisoner Khader Adnan said Wednesday.

Khader Adnan, a former administrative detainee who was released after a 66-day hunger strike, said the families were prevented from exiting the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge crossing to Jordan.

The ex-prisoners and their families were invited by Saudi Arabia’s king following their release from Israeli custody in the spring, Adnan explained.

According to Adnan, the Israeli authorities forced the travelers to wait for hours. Elderly people became ill while waiting for the Israeli side to let them pass, he said.

He called the procedures at crossings and checkpoint “similar to what bandits do,” and noted there was no legal or religious pretext for stopping people from performing the pilgrimage.

“Israeli authorities are fighting Muslims and Islam, and we have to get rid of it,” Adnan said.

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