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Israel bars Palestine sports team from competing abroad

Gazans protest against Israeli decision to not allow sportsmen to leave the Gaza Strip to take part in the Fifth Asian Beach Games in Danang, Vitnam

The Israeli authorities on Wednesday barred members of Palestine’s national beach soccer team from travelling abroad to take part in the Fifth Asian Beach Games in Danang, Vietnam, according to a Palestinian athletics official.

“The Israeli authorities stopped all 14 members of the team from crossing the Erez border crossing,” team captain Imad Hashim told reporters.

“The Israeli ban will keep us from taking part in the competition, due to kick off next Saturday in Danang,” Hashim lamented.

According to Hashim, the Israeli authorities failed to provide a reason for the move.

The Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip is generally devoted to the movement of individuals between the blockaded strip and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Blockaded by Israel by since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world. Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh is controlled by Egypt, which keeps it tightly sealed for the most part.

Israel sealed most of its commercial crossings with the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after Palestinian resistance movement Hamas wrested control of the coastal enclave from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.

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