Egypt bans aid convoys to Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, January 11, 2010
George Galloway MP with the Viva Palestina convoy

George Galloway MP with the Viva Palestina convoy

Egypt has announced it is to ban all foreign aid convoys to Gaza after activists from the Viva Palestina convoy led by MP George Galloway clashed with police on the Rafah border.

Mr Galloway was deported from Gaza after attempting to re-enter the territory after part of the convoy was allowed a limited amount of time to distribute aid in Gaza.

A statement from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said: "The deportation was to protect him from the Egyptian people's anger. George Galloway is considered persona non grata and will not be allowed to enter into Egypt again."

A prosecutor in El-Arish has issued seven arrest warrants for activists, including two Britons.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit later said the country has banned all aid convoys to Gaza, and that any aid for Palestinian brought through Egypt would be given to Red Crescent, the Muslim relief organisation, who would turn it over to their Palestinian counterparts.

He said: "Egypt will no longer allow convoys, regardless of their origin or who is organizing them, from crossing its territory.

“Members of the convoy committed hostile acts, even criminal ones, on Egyptian territory.”

Last updated: 11:45am, January 11 2010