RAMALLAH, July 23 (JMCC) - Egyptian officials have denied reports that Palestinians entering Egypt will no longer be required to obtain a visa prior to arrival, stating instead that Egypt is ending a policy of immediately deporting Palestinians that arrive without visas, reports the Jerusalem Post
According to the Israeli newspaper, Palestinians without papers will now be allowed to stay in the country for 72 hours before moving on.
Palestinians had been hopeful that Egypt under its new president, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, would lift its visa requirements for Palestinians, who must enter the country in order to access the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Dozens of Palestinians who fled from Syria were stranded at Cairo International Airport after the Egyptian authorities denied them entry.
Some of the Palestinians were sent back to Syria, while others were escorted to the Rafah terminal on their way into the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources.
Palestinians who also arrived from other Arab countries without a visa were detained at the airport before being deported to the Gaza Strip.
Following protests by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Egyptians decided to change their policy, allowing Palestinian travelers to stay in Egypt for at least 72 hours before they chose their next destination.
Security sources in Cairo denied reports that claimed that the Egyptian authorities were no longer requiring Palestinians to obtain a visa before visiting Egypt.
The sources said that the regulations regarding the entry of Palestinians remain unchanged. They said that all males aged 18-40 still need a visa to enter Egypt, while females are exempt.
According to the sources, the policy at the Rafah terminal also has not changed and Palestinians from the Gaza Strip cannot enter the country without a visa or permission from the Egyptian security authorities.