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A Hamas official on Monday hailed controversial British MP George Galloway as a "hero" upon the lawmaker's arrival in the Gaza Strip.

Galloway entered Gaza from Egypt with an aid caravan. About 50 British volunteers and 100 vehicles carrying food, clothing and medicine passed through Egypt's Rafah border crossing with him, a Hamas border official said.

Receiving the activists, Ahmed Kurd, Hamas' minister of social affairs, thanked Galloway for the "noble goodwill gesture" and called the lawmaker a "hero."

Galloway, who was expelled from Britain's ruling Labour Party in 2003 over statements he made in opposition to the Iraq war, said a total of 300 British citizens and 200 Libyans would be entering Gaza.

After entering Gaza, Galloway called the aid a drop in the ocean, but said the trip was to send a message that the lifeline from Britain to Gaza is in.

Other aid, including electrical generators and a fire engine, would enter Israel, where the British delegation hoped to get it into Gaza through coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the official said.

Israel allows daily convoys of aid into Gaza and denies that there are shortages of food, fuel or medicine there.

On Sunday, activists belonging to Galloway's "Viva Palestina" convoy clashed with Egyptian security forces in the north Sinai town of el-Arish, close to the border with Gaza.

Clashes erupted after the convoy was refused entry to the crossing point at the town of Rafah, which is bisected by the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.