Nine medics seeking entry into the Gaza Strip on a humanitarian mission have gone on a hunger strike after being denied entry into the blockaded ghetto.
Three of the medical doctors, all British nationals say they have been denied access to the Palestinian territory at the Rafah crossing since the beginning of May.
They aimed at establishing a cardiac surgery unit at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which currently lacks such a facility, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.
The group also seeks to "train medical students and junior doctors there", the report adds.
One of the medics identified as Omar Mangoush, a cardiac surgeon at Hammersmith hospital in London, told the British newspaper that the group had arrived at the crossing in Egypt on May 4 only to be told they did not have permission to enter.
"We are on hunger strike until they let us through," he said.
"We'll stay [at the crossing] until they let us in. We want to put pressure on the British embassy. We believe if the British embassy wanted us to do this they could exert pressure [on the Egyptian authorities]," Mangoush added.
The British embassy had apparently told the group that the Egyptian foreign ministry had "postponed" access to Gaza for the medics to an unknown date.
He also blamed the British embassy for not doing enough, adding that American aid workers had gained entry to the area at their first attempt with the support of the US embassy.
Other British medics on the hunger strike include Christopher Burns-Cox, a retired consultant, and Kirsty Wong, a nurse at Hammersmith hospital.
Others on hunger strike include three Belgians, Mangoush said.
"There are loads of people with heart disease [in Gaza]. They can't get here [to Egypt], they can't get to Israel. If it's this hard for us…, how difficult is it for the Palestinians to get out?" he asked.
Gazans continue to struggle with the aftermath of a three-week Israeli war and a 22-month siege, branded by many as medieval torture of the Palestinian population.
A number of aid groups say Egyptian compliance with the Israeli-imposed closure has contributed to a humanitarian crisis in the strip, which is only twice the size of Washington DC. link
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