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Egyptian police stop convoy of buses heading to Gaza

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By Reuters

Egyptian police stopped a convoy of buses heading towards Gaza on Wednesday in what the organisers called an attempt to break the blockade of the Palestinian territory, police and eyewitnesses said.

The convoy of four buses, the first of several convoys which planned to travel to Gaza on Wednesday, could not travel beyond a toll station near the Suez Canal town of Ismailia, they said.

"Before Ismailia the security forces closed the road and took away the driving licences of the drivers," said Badr Mohamed, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the opposition groups taking part in the endeavour.

More than 150 people were standing around by the side of the road, chanting slogans in support of the Palestinians, he added.

A second convoy of about the same size will try to leave towards Gaza later in the day, he said.

Police tightened up procedures all along the main road to the border town of Rafah, checking the identity of travellers and asking them the reason for their journey, one activist said.

The Egyptian government contributes to the blockade of Gaza by refusing to open the Rafah crossing point without Israeli approval, as it agreed in a 2005 deal with Israel.

Along with many opposition groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition force in the country, favors ending the blockade and opening the border for goods and people.

In August two boats carrying foreign peace activists reached Gaza from Cyprus
in defiance of the government’s wishes.

(h a a r e t z . c o m)