Rep. Keith Ellison, who is on a tour of the Middle East this week, tweeted this morning that he was denied entry into the Gaza Strip because of "hostilities."

It was just over a year ago that Ellison and another congressman became the first American lawmakers to visit the area since Hamas took control in 2007. The trip was also symbolic because Ellison is the first Muslim member of Congress.

The "hostilities" Ellison referenced in his tweet this morning are likely related to a recent Israeli bombing of the area.

"Not in Israel to assign blame, but to work for reconciliation," Ellison tweeted yesterday when he was still in Israel. "No future in fixing blame; only fixing problem."

The Minneapolis congressman also recently left Saudi Arabia, where he told a local news organization that he hopes to ease visa complications for Saudi Arabians trying to enter the United States.

"I have met many Saudi people who have been back and forth to the United States and yet they are still being stopped and treated with lack of courtesy," Ellison told arabnews.com. "This is having a negative impact on business (between the two countries). I want to assure everybody in Saudi Arabia that this is an issue I take very seriously. I am working with others to get this resolved."

The news service also paraphrased Ellison's feelings that while the United States has to ensure its security, "many people delayed or stopped at airports did not present any security threat and were legitimate businesspeople." (That's quoting the story, not Ellison)

UPDATE: In response to some inquiries about the cost of the trip, it is publicly-funded.

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