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News Link • Israel - Palestine

Israel blocks entry to pro-Palestinian activists at airport

•, Harriet Sherwood
 About 650 police officers, some in plain clothes, patrolled Ben Gurion airport on Sunday ready "to prevent disturbances and disruption", according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Around 50 passengers had been detained and interrogated by mid-afternoon, with many more flights expected during the early evening. Nine people were immediately deported, and a small number were allowed entry to Israel. Those suspected of being pro-Palestinian activists were taken first to a smaller terminal, with a "Welcome to Israel" sign above its doors, for interrogation and from there to a nearby prison.

At least four Israeli sympathisers who unfurled a banner reading "Welcome to Palestine" in the arrivals hall were arrested.

"The security measures are to prevent any major incidents taking place," said Rosenfeld. "These are not terrorists, but they could be a threat to Israel's security."

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