The Israeli authorities on Monday detained the coach of a Palestinian blind karate team as he and the team were returning to the Gaza Strip from an international tournament in Dubai through the Erez crossing.
Sources told Ma’an news agency that Hasan al-Rae, 37, and five members of the al-Mashtal Club’s visually impaired karate team were detained while passing through the crossing.
The members of the team were held for nine hours before being released but al-Rae remains in custody.
The Palestinian Karate Federation in the Gaza Strip and the family and students of al-Rae held a protest outside the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza city. They called on the World Karate Federation to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to release al-Rae.
The protesters said Israel’s act of detaining the coach is part of an Israeli policy of stifling Palestinian sports, as is the case with Palestinian art and trade.
The group left the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing in Beit Hanoun to take part in the championships held between 7-11 April, which 56 Arab and European countries participated in.
Images by MEMO photographer Mohammed Asad.