A group of 774 pilgrims returned to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday via the Rafah crossing, Palestinian officials said. The pilgrims arrived at Cairo international airport after performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and returned to Gaza via Rafah. There have been frequent closures of the Rafah terminal in recent weeks due to political unrest in Egypt and violence in the Sinai peninsula. After a July coup deposing president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt ' s army has repeatedly closed the border crossing and destroyed hundreds of tunnels that Gazans used for years. The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza ' s 1.8 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an economic blockade by Israel beginning in 2007.