Gaza Olympian barred from West Bank marathon
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Gaza Olympian barred from West Bank marathon

Court backs IDF ban on Nader Masri's participation in Bethlehem race, but says travel restrictions should be eased

Palestinian Olympic marathoner Nader Masri. (photo credit: image capture YouTube)
Palestinian Olympic marathoner Nader Masri. (photo credit: image capture YouTube)

The Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the military to prevent a Gaza Olympian from leaving the coastal strip to participate in a marathon in the West Bank.

Israel has severely restricted the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza since the Islamic militant Hamas took control there in 2007. The closure policy is also enforced by Gaza’s neighbor Egypt.

Tuesday’s ruling ends hopes of 34-year-old Nader Masri to participate in Friday’s marathon in biblical Bethlehem.

Masri, who participated in the 2008 Olympics, says he is disappointed because he hoped to compete against runners outside Gaza.

Israel says only humanitarian hardship cases are allowed to leave Gaza.

The judges say they cannot interfere in the military’s decisions but that it should consider easing the travel ban.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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