Egypt allowed a convoy with members of a U.S. designated terrorist group to enter the Gaza Strip Sunday, Palestinian officials said.
The convoy, dubbed "Miles of Smiles 3," entered the Hamas-controlled Strip through the recently-opened Rafah border crossing, and was comprised of 62 activists—mostly European—carrying ambulances, medicine, and medical equipment.
Activists included leaders of Interpal, a British charity designated by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2003 for supporting Hamas. Interpal is also a member of the Union of Good, an umbrella organization created by Hamas leaders to route money to the group, and also designated by the U.S. in 2008.
The convoy was greeted in Gaza by Ahmad al-Kurd, a high ranking Hamas leader and a designated terrorist. The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report notes that Interpal's Vice Chairman and trustee, Essam Mustafa, met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh during the trip to Gaza. Mustafa, also the general coordinator of Miles of Smiles 3, told the Hamas PM, "It is our right access to Gaza by sea and by air, and we will do this every way possible." "We are pledged to Gaza and Palestine, and no one will stop us from reaching our country," he added.
On Monday, Haniyeh praised Miles of Smiles for its third trip to the Gaza Strip . "Some people might think that after you have arrived in Gaza, your mission is over. However, we know that you still have a lot of work to finish, and for that we greatly respect you and appreciate your efforts," he said.
Miles of Smiles is headed by the UK-based group, the International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG). ICBSG is directed by former Hamas operative Mohammad Sawalha, and the group is part of an upcoming flotilla which seeks to break the naval blockade on the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip.
The International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza has partnered with Viva Palestina, a UK-based group which has delivered millions of dollars to the Hamas regime in Gaza through its land convoys to the region. Interpal has also supported Viva Palestina's convoys to Gaza in the past. Despite Interpal's continued support for Hamas, the United Kingdom's Charity Commission has repeatedly cleared the group for its terrorist ties. The UK Charity Commission also cleared Viva Palestina of its terrorist ties in March, 2010, and the U.S. government has taken no action against the organization.