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UN cancels Gaza marathon after Hamas bans women


At the time of the ban, about half the registrants for the race were women

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees canceled a marathon in Gaza planned for April 10th after Hamas decided to ban women from the event. AsiaNews reports:

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has cancelled the third edition of the Gaza Marathon scheduled for 10 April because Hamas wanted to ban men and women from running together, the agency announced in a press release. The marathon was cancelled "following a decision by the authorities in Gaza not to allow women to participate," the UNRWA statement said.
At the time of the cancellation, 807 people had registered, almost 400 were women, UNRWA said.
In justifying its position, Hamas-dominated government of Gaza said that the ban was in place for at least 16 years.
"We regret this decision to cancel the marathon," Abdessalam Siyyam, cabinet secretary of the Hamas government, told the AFP news agency.
"We did not tell UNRWA to cancel the marathon and we haven't prevented it, but we laid down some conditions: We don't want women and men mixing in the same place," he said.

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