Blair’s sister-in-law ‘trapped in Gaza’

By Dana Gloger, September 4, 2008

FORMER Prime Minister Tony Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth this week claimed she was trapped in Gaza.

The human-rights activist, journalist and sister of Cherie Booth was on one of two "peace" boats organised by the Free Gaza Movement. She claims that Israeli and Egyptian authorities denied her entry, leaving her stranded in Gaza.

The boats sailed from Cyprus intending to draw attention to what activists say is an Israeli blockade of Gaza. They returned to Cyprus last Thursday, but Ms Booth decided to stay. She said: "When I went to the Israeli checkpoint I was threatened with being shot four times." She added that she was also stopped from crossing into Egypt via the Rafah checkpoint.

A spokeswoman for the UK Foreign Office said: "Staff in Jerusalem, Gaza and Cairo have been working hard over the past five days to enable her and other British nationals to leave Gaza. We will continue to do so."

But the Israeli Embassy in London said Israel had received "no official request from any official British body" for Ms Booth to be allowed entry. On the checkpoint threat, a spokesman said: "I do not believe anyone threatened her in the way she claims."

No-one from the Egyptian embassy was available for comment.

Last updated: 9:03am, September 4 2008