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Egypt prevents local convoy from bringing aid to Gaza

Jan. 15, 2010 3:08 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 16, 2010 3:41 P.M.)
By: trans Jenny
Al-Arish – Ma'an – Egyptian security forces in Cairo dispersed a local initiative to deliver aid to Gaza, organized by Dr Mustafa Khalil's Kifaya Movement, as it began transporting supplies to the country's northern border for transfer into Gaza, the group reported.

Under the motto, “No to the wall, no to the siege,” the group affiliated to Egypt's Labor Party under the movement's Chairman Muhammad As-Sikhawi gathered in Cairo near the headquarters of the Journalist Syndicate, but were dispersed by Egyptian police.

Khalil said the group was planning to travel to Al-Ismailia City then on to the Rafah crossing with Gaza.

The move to disperse the assembly for Gaza underlines the new Egyptian position following unrest in the country when two large groups of international activists entered the country in efforts to commemorate the Israeli war on Gaza last year - the Gaza Freedom March (GFM)- and to deliver tons of medical supplies -Viva Palestina. Protests from GFM members were locked down by Egyptian police in Cairo, and a rally supporting Viva Palestina at the Rafah border ended in clashes and the shooting death of an Egyptian officer, allegedly by gunmen on the Gaza side of the divided town.

The events, condemned by the groups as examples of Egypt's failed democracy, prompted the state to declare an end to convoys to Gaza through its territory, and announced that all aid for Gaza would have to be delivered to the Egyptian Red Crescent, and would be delivered from them to the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza.

Following the dispersal of the Egyptian aid group, the convoy moved to the Lawyers Syndicate headquarters, but were again prevented from assembling by Egyptian police. Organizers said a driver of the convoy was also detained.

At press time, the group was still trying to reach Al-Ismailia city but Egyptian security forces had erected road barriers to prevent them from making the trip.

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