Palestinians Hurl Slippers At UN Chief Ban Ki Moon

Relatives of Palestinians held in Israeli jails flung slippers on Thursday at an armored convoy carrying visiting UN chief Ban Ki-moon and tried to block the vehicles from entering the Gaza Strip.

Latest victim: Slippers hurled at UN chief

BEIT HANOUN (GAZA STRIP): Relatives of Palestinians held in Israeli jails flung slippers on Thursday at an armored convoy carrying visiting UN chief Ban Ki-moon and tried to block the vehicles from entering the Gaza Strip.

Police officers guarded the convoy carrying Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, as it arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.

About 40 relatives of Palestinian prisoners gathered at the Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel, hoisting posters with pictures of their loved ones and signs in English and Arabic reading, "Ban Ki-moon, enough bias to Israel" .

Two of them threw slippers at his car - an insulting gesture that was mostly associated with an Iraqi protester who hurled shoes at former US president George W Bush at a news conference in Baghdad in 2008.

The Gaza prisoners' relatives, angry that Ban would not be meeting with them, formed a human chain at the crossing in an effort to block his vehicle, but Hamas security forces moved them away so Ban could enter the coastal territory.

"We came here in a symbolic message to Ban Ki-moon that Palestinians from Gaza want the right to visit their loved ones in Israeli jails," said Jamal Farwana, a spokesman for Gaza prisoners' families . "He should make more of an effort to release the prisoners and we wonder why he avoids meeting families of Palestinian prisoners."

Israel holds about 7,000 Palestinian prisoners.