Top Palestinian official denied entry to Egypt

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A senior Palestinian official has been denied entry to Egypt, prompting a Palestinian delegation to withdraw in protest from a counter-terrorism conference he was to attend, officials said Tuesday.

Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party, told AFP he was "surprised by the Egyptian security decision to ban me from entering Egypt".

Rajoub, who also heads the Palestinian Football Association, said the Egyptian minister of youth and sports had been waiting at the airport to meet him.

An Egyptian airport official said Rajoub was rejected "on the instruction of one of the Egyptian security services," without giving further details.

Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Abu Diak, who was scheduled to participate with Rajoub in the conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, announced that he was withdrawing in protest, a Palestinian official said.

Egypt, one of only two Arab countries to have signed a peace treaty with Israel, plays a major role in the Arab League, which is based in Cairo.

It has been a major interlocutor in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians in recent decades.

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