April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Dozens of Palestinians gathered at the border between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt on Wednesday to celebrate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's recovery and return home.

The rally, organized by the Islamic Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip, called on Mubarak to release Palestinian prisoners in Egyptian jails.

"We came here today to the borderline area to send our congratulations to President Mubarak for his recovery and also to urge him to release the Palestinian prisoners in Egyptian jails," said the organizer.

The participants waved Egyptian and Palestinian flags, and carried big pictures of Mubarak to express happiness for the Egyptian president's recovery.

Mubarak, 81 years old, returned to Egypt on Saturday after he had a successful surgery to remove the gall bladder and a benign tissue in Germany on March 6.

The rally also called on Mubarak to help the Palestinians to end their internal division and achieve reconciliation.

The ties between Hamas and Egypt deteriorated after the Islamic movement refused to sign on an Egyptian-drafted pact of reconciliation presented to the Palestinians in October.

Egypt's anger on Hamas mounted after Gaza militants shot dead an Egyptian police officer near the borderline during a Hamas protest against Egypt's prevention of a European aid convoy from heading to Gaza three months ago.

Meanwhile, the official Palestinian News Agency Wafa reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in Jordan, telephoned President Mubarak on Wednesday to congratulate him on his recovery and safe return to Egypt.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017