Middle East

Egypt deports US anti-war activist travelling to Gaza

Palestinians attend Friday prayers during a rally calling on Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border crossing, at the crossing in the southern Gaza Strip February 28, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

CAIRO: Egypt on Tuesday deported an American anti-war activist who was trying to travel to the Gaza Strip, airport officials and the activist herself said.

Medea Benjamin, who co-founded the CodePink anti-war group, was detained on arrival in Cairo airport on Monday. She had planned to join a delegation of activists on a visit to the Palestinian coastal enclave this week.

She told AFP airport police broke her arm during her detention before putting her on a flight to Istanbul.

"I arrived yesterday (Monday). They took me out of customs, held me overnight, threw me on the floor, and broke my arm. Two policemen jumped on me and broke my arm," she said in a telephone conversation aboard her flight.

An airport official said Benjamin "dislocated her shoulder," without elaborating.

Benjamin had been banned from entering Egypt after a 2010 visit in which she protested against Cairo's refusal to allow pro-Palestinian activists to enter the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The government eventually allowed some activists to cross into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.

Israel and Egypt restrict the flow of goods into the coastal territory, which is ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas, designated as a terrorist group by Israel and Western countries.

A Cairo court on Tuesday also banned Hamas activities inside Egypt. Members of the movement have been accused of aiding deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.





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