Thursday, December 30, 2010

Egypt bans activists from Gaza convoy

Members of the Asia to Gaza Caravan

Source: Press TV

Egypt has prevented some 50 Iranian and Jordanian activists on the Asia 1 aid convoy from reaching the Gaza Strip through its soil.

The Egyptian embassy in Damascus, Syria, has informed the convoy of a permit that allows only 120 activists to pass through Egypt and then enter Gaza via El Arish port, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported Thursday.

Palestinian authorities said that Cairo is also denying entry to 10 generators donated by Iranians. This will decrease the size of the humanitarian convoy to below 300 tons, which will be limited to food and medical aid, in addition to toys, for the besieged Palestinians.

Gaza has been under a crippling blockade since 2007.

The Asia to Gaza Caravan, or Asia 1, consists of activists from more than 15 countries, including Iran, India, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Kuwait. It was scheduled to reach Gaza by December 27, in time for the second anniversary of Israel's 22-day war on the Strip that started on December 28, 2008.

Over 1,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, were killed and thousands others injured or maimed in the three-week Israeli-imposed war. Half of Gaza's infrastructure was destroyed and remains unrepaired as a result of Israel's siege, which includes a ban on the entry of building materials into the coastal sliver.

The convoy has travelled 7,000 kilometers but has been stuck in Latikia, in Syria, since last week awaiting Egypt's permission.

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