Egypt bans a protest march into Gaza

BBC NEWS | 2009/12/21 | 16:47:48 GMT

Egypt has rejected a request to allow activists to march across the border into the Gaza Strip to mark the anniversary of last year’s conflict. The Egyptian foreign ministry said the march could not be allowed because of the “sensitive situation” in Gaza. Over 1,000 activists from 42 countries had signed-up to join “the Gaza freedom march” planned for next week. Egypt warned that anyone attempting the crossing from Egypt would be “dealt with by the law.” Palestinians and human rights groups say more than 1,400 Gazans were killed in the violence between 27 December and 16 January, though Israel puts the figure at 1,166. Three Israeli civilians and 10 Israeli soldiers were also killed.

The UN’s Goldstone report has said both the Israeli army and Palestinian militants committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during fighting. Egypt has begun constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels. When it is finished, the wall will be 10-11km (6-7 miles) long and will extend 18 metres below the surface. Gaza is under a tight Israeli and Egyptian blockade, tightened since Hamas took over the strip in 2007.

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