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UNRWA cancels Gaza marathon after Hamas ban on women participation

Published: Updated:

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced Monday it cancelled its third marathon following a disagreement with authorities in Gaza on women’s participation.

“This disappointing decision follows discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate,” UNRWA said in a statement published on its website. “Registered participants who still wish to come to Gaza are welcome and UNRWA is working on a program of other events, which will be forwarded to those interested as soon as possible.”

The marathon, a 42-kilometer run along the coastline of the Gaza Strip, was to be held on April 10. It was organized to help finance UNRWA’s program of [fun summer activities][ http://www.unrwa.org/gazamarathon#2] for Gazan children.

Gaza is one of the most-densely populated cities in the world and known for its extreme poverty and ongoing conflict with Israeli authorities.