Egypt Deport Gaza Strip Activists International Women Day
Women members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi shout slogans at the border fenceReuters

Egypt has deported 100 women activists who had flown to Cairo in the hope of reaching Gaza to celebrate International Women's Day.

The women, mostly from Europe and the United States, were hoping to enter the occupied territory of Gaza via Egypt's Rafah crossing on the border, which was recognised in the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.

"The passengers will be deported to their home countries," said Egyptian aviation minister Hossam Abul-Kheir.

The activists have been placed on Egypt's no-entry list but can still get into Gaza through Israeli checkpoints.

Twenty-two women were deported to Paris, 11 to Istanbul and six to Frankfurt, an airport official added.

Following the ousting of Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Rafah has been closed for long periods. Sometimes it is open for only four hours a day.

Since coming to power last summer, Egypt's military-backed government has hindered Gaza's economy by closing 1,200 smuggling tunnels into the occupied territory.

An Egyptian court banned all Hamas activities in Egypt, designated the Palestinian militant group as a terrorist organisation and closed its offices.

International Women's Day takes place Saturday (8 March) and marks women's struggle for equality.