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U.N. cancels Gaza marathon over Hamas ban on women

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The United Nations agency in charge of Gaza's annual marathon has canceled the race in protest of a Hamas ban on female participants.

Hamas says it wasn't banning women — it was just stipulating that male and female participants couldn't run together and that it wanted the marathon to go forth as long as "local traditions" were respected, the BBC reported.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency, however, said that stipulation was too restrictive. The group canceled the race, which was set for Sunday, after "discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate," BBC reported.

This would have been the third Gaza marathon sponsored by UNRWA. In previous years, BBC reports, Hamas has been supportive of the race and has even provided security.

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