U.S. congressman visits Gaza for humanitarian mission

11:03, April 04, 2010      

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U.S. congressman Keith Ellison visited the Gaza Strip on Saturday to inspect the humanitarian situation in the light of an Israeli blockade and delay in post- war construction.

Ellison crossed from Egypt which also closed its border with the Gaza Strip after Islamic Hamas movement seized the coastal enclave by force in June 2007.

He started his visit by touring smuggling tunnels Palestinians dig beneath Gaza's southern borders with Egypt to bypass the closure.

Ellison told Xinhua that he came here to assess the situation and talk to people in the civil society, including students, rights workers and businessmen. He denied holding any political aspect to his visit.

The first Muslim congressman doesn't plan to meet Hamas which he referred in his 2006 electoral campaign as an obstacle to peace.

Ellison also visited a two-year-old baby who needs medical care outside Gaza but can't get out due to the restrictions on people's movements in and out of the impoverished territory.

He said he will inform his colleagues in the U.S. Congress of the situation in Gaza. "I've taken a public position saying this siege needs to end," Ellison said.



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