February 7, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11122

Lebanese Daily 'Al-Akhbar': Egyptian Regime Profiteering From Gaza War And Gazans' Suffering – Imposing High Taxes And Taking Bribes At Gaza Border Crossings

February 7, 2024
Egypt, Lebanon, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 11122

In a February 6, 2024 report, the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar claims that, since the start of the war in Gaza, the Egyptian regime has been exploiting the Gazan's distress to impose high taxes on goods entering Gaza and to charge exorbitant fees and take bribes for allowing Gazans to cross the border into Egypt. The article also states that, throughout the war, "food factories belonging to the Egyptian army worked intensively" to manufacture products that were sent to Gaza as humanitarian aid on behalf of various countries, chief of them Qatar. The factories sold these products for much more than their global market price. The article states further that the Abna Sina' company, which has a monopoly on  transporting goods to the Rafah crossing and into Gaza, and is connected to Mahmoud Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi, the son of the Egyptian president, charges thousands of dollars for every aid truck that enters the Strip. Furthermore,  the Hala travel agency, which belongs to Egypt's General Intelligence Service, charges high prices for taking wounded Gazans into Egypt for treatment, which has compelled many Gazan families to sell property in order to pay for this.

The report states that, in response to its claims, the Egyptian authorities explained that the high fees were meant to prevent the immigration of Gazans to Egypt and to thwart "plans aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause."

It should be noted that, according to a February 7, 2024 report in the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, the Egyptian security services ended their contract with the Hala travel agency in response to the uproar sparked by reports about the high fees and the bribes paid by Gazans, and the agency itself wrote on its Facebook page that it was not accepting new orders.[1]  

Aid trucks entering Gaza via the Rafah border crossing |(, October 22, 2023)

The following are translated excerpts from the Al-Akhbar report: [2]

"The Egyptian Regime… Lines Its Pockets With The Money Of Gazans Seeking To Escape From Hell" 

"From the start of the Gaza war, the Egyptian regime – the army and [regime] officials – exploited the solidarity and the aid convoys sent by many countries to the [Gaza] Strip, lined its pockets with the money of Gazans wishing to escape from hell and imposed high taxes and took large bribes for [goods] entering Gaza. Since the beginning of the war, many Arab and Islamic countries announced they would send urgent aid to the people of Gaza, and many planes loaded with aid landed at Al-Arish airport. [But then] the situation changed, when Egypt asked most of the countries wanting to provide aid to buy it from the Egyptian market in order to save time." 

"The Food Factories Of The Egyptian Army Worked Intensively For Many Countries, Chief Of Them Qatar"; A Company Connected To The Son Of Egyptian President Al-Sisi Charges Thousands Of Dollars For Every Truck Bringing Aid Into Gaza

"An Egyptian source who is involved in the entry of goods into Gaza told Al-Akhbar that many food factories belonging to the Egyptian army worked intensively throughout the war for many countries, chief of them Qatar, in order to urgently provide aid products and thereby make it easier to check [the goods] and bring them into the Strip through the Rafah crossing. The goods also included large quantities of flour and foodstuffs for UNRWA. 

"According to the information [we received], the food factories of the Egyptian army sold the aid products to the donor [countries] for more than its global market price, [charging] in dollars and demanding to receive the payment immediately upon the [provision] of the goods. The donor countries also paid taxes and high fees for every truck entering Gaza, [and the money] went to the Abna Sina' company, owned by Ibrahim Al-Organi, a businessman from Sinai whose undeclared [business] partner is Mahmoud Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi, the son of the Egyptian president.

"According to Palestinian sources involved in the entry of goods through the Salah Al-Din crossing between Egypt and Gaza, this Egyptian company [Abna Sina'] charges between $2,000 and $4,000 for every truck entering Gaza, knowing that the regular price is no more than $200. Charities are forced to bribe the Egyptian officers to place their trucks at the beginning [of the line] to enter [Gaza], and trucks [whose owners] do not pay wait in line for many weeks…"

A Travel Agency Belonging To Egypt's General Intelligence Service Charges High Prices And Takes Bribes To Allow Gazans Into Egypt

The report goes on to say that, in addition to charging high prices for transporting aid into Gaza, Egypt also charges exorbitant fees, by means of the Hala travel agency, which belongs to the General Intelligence Service, for transporting wounded Gazans into Egypt for medical treatment. According to the report, "Abu Muhammad, a Palestinian travel agent who works with the Hala travel agency, says that the brokerage fees for traveling with the [Hala] company have changed during the course of the war. Whereas at the beginning of the war they were as high as $10,000 per person, in the last few months they gradually dropped, and last month they were $5,000 for a person over 12 and $500-$2,500 per child, depending on the number of people in the family. For Palestinians with Egyptian citizenship, the price is $1,200-$1,600. The agent explains that the price dropped because, in the beginning [of the war], the people who paid to leave the Strip were merchants and businesspeople, whereas [today] there are few of them left. The demand also fell because of the high prices, so prices were lowered in order to maximize the number of travelers and thus the profits."

The report adds that "this activity by the General Intelligence Service is not new. It also took place in previous years, although on a smaller scale. Back then, prices were $600-$900 for a VIP service that included transport from Gaza to Cairo and [arrangements] that eased and hastened [the travelers'] entry into Egypt, while the regular brokerage price, just for entering [Egypt], is $200 per person, according to [our] source. The procedure involves sending a photocopy of [the traveler's] passport to one of the Gazan agents that work with Hala two days in advance of the trip, and then the [traveler's] name is added to the daily list of [travelers] approved by the Egyptians. Some of the sum is paid to the agent in Gaza, and the rest [is paid] at the Rafah crossing." 

Gazans Families Are Forced To Sell Property To Pay Exorbitant Fees For Sending Their Wounded Members For Medical Treatment In Egypt

Shedding light on the Gazan's suffering as a result of this situation, the article states: "Palestinian families have lately been forced to pay high fees for brokerage vis-à-vis the Egyptians in order to send their members who were wounded in the war [to Egypt] for treatment. One Palestinian was forced to sell property for half its price in order to secure treatment for his son, after the Egyptians tightened [the conditions] at the crossing and restricted the number of wounded allowed to pass. According to sources in the Gaza Crossings and Borders Authority, during the war 800-1,500 people were allowed to pass every month using this brokerage [method]."

The article adds: "Now that Egypt's exploitation of the Gazans' suffering has been exposed, the Egyptians explain the bribes and the large fees [earned] by the intelligence officers and by the Hala [company] by saying that the intention is to prevent Palestinian immigration [to Egypt] and to confront plans aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause."     


[1] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), February 7, 2024.

[2]  Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), February 6, 2024.

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