Hamas have banned women from running in the race
The UN has cancelled the Gaza Marathon after the area’s governing Hamas movement barred women from taking part.
The marathon, which was planned to go ahead on Sunday, would have been Gaza’s third. Hamas have supported the race and provided security for previous runs.
However, there have been growing complaints about mixing between the sexes, especially at sporting events, from Conservative groups.
The UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) gave a statement saying it had taken ‘the disappointing decision’ after ‘discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate’.
Speaking to news agency AFP Abdessalam Siyyam, cabinet secretary of the Hamas government, said: ‘We regret this decision to cancel the marathon but we don’t want men and women running together.
‘We did not tell Unrwa to cancel the marathon and we haven’t prevented it, but we laid down some conditions: We don’t want women and men mixing in the same place.’