The High Court of Justice on Tuesday refused to intervene in the case of a Gaza graduate student who remains trapped in the coastal strip, unable to resume studies in Britain, an advocacy group reported.

Khaled al-Mudallal, 22, returned to his native Gaza in June to marry, expecting to return with his new wife to Britain, where he had been studying business administration at the University of Bradford.

But Israel sealed its borders with Gaza in mid-June, after Islamic Hamas militants seized power in the strip. Since then, it has let only several hundred Gaza residents leave the strip through Israeli territory for points abroad.

Al-Mudallal is one of some 4,000 people with overseas work and study permits who Palestinian officials estimate remain stuck in Gaza, their jobs and studies at risk.

Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, petitioned the high court on his behalf, but the court declined to intervene, reasoning that al-Mudallal could apply to leave Gaza on one of the sporadic shuttle buses Israel lets out of the strip, said Sari Bashi, the group's director.

"I only ask for my right to return to university," al-Mudallal said in a statement Gisha issued after the court's decision. "I want to continue studying. I want to graduate."

He missed the start of the university's fall semester, which began Monday.

The court decision did not appear on the court's Web site, and a military spokesman said he was not aware of the ruling.

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