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The third Gaza Marathon has been cancelled after Hamas authorities in the Palestinian territory refused to allow women to participate.
The 42-kilometer run, organized by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), was scheduled to take place on April 10.
UNRWA announced Tuesday that it is cancelling the event in response to the militant group’s total ban on women.
“UNRWA regrets to announce that it has cancelled the third Gaza marathon which was to be held on 10 April,” UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness said in a statement to the Free Beacon. “This follows the decision by the authorities in Gaza not to allow women to participate.”
Gunness said that “registered participants who still wish to come to Gaza” are still welcome to participate in “other events, which will be forwarded to those interested as soon as possible.”
“UNRWA is disappointed with this decision and sincerely regrets the inconvenience this may cause to those who planned to participate in the marathon,” Gunness said in the statement, a similar version of which was posted on UNRWA’s website.
The run was scheduled to take place along “the coastline of the Gaza Strip,” according to UNRWA’s website.
The marathon was scheduled as part of the U.N. agency’s “Summer Fun Weeks” in Gaza, a series of activities meant to appeal to children.
“The Summer Fun Weeks will counter the negative impact of pervasive violence, isolation, and loss of hope; all of which are the result of the ongoing occupation and closure of Gaza,” according to UNRWA, which has been criticized for anti-Israel bias.
Runners from the United States and Europe were expected to participate in the marathon. Also slated to appear was Nader al Masri, a Palestinian athlete who recently participated in the Olympics.
Gazan children also would have been permitted to participate in part of the race.