Two dozen Fatah activists have sneaked out of the Gaza Strip in recent days, including a woman who said she hitched a ride with farmers on a donkey cart Friday to get past Hamas troops at a border checkpoint.
The getaways were headed for Fatah's first convention in 20 years, set to start Tuesday in Bethlehem. More than 1,500 delegates are to attend, including 450 from Gaza.
Travelers leaving Gaza have to present their documents at a Hamas checkpoint about a mile away from the Erez crossing into Israel. Several hundred yards closer to Erez, in an area off-limits to Hamas, another checkpoint is staffed by Abbas loyalists who coordinate with Israeli border officials.