Palestine’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) has declared that Israeli authorities have withheld the Palestinian 2016 Olympic team’s uniforms and equipment, forcing participants to travel to Brazil without its gear.Israel-Confiscates-Olympics-Athletes-Equipment-and-Uniforms

Secretary-General of the Palestinian NOC, Munther Masalmeh, stated that the gear has not cleared customs yet.

An Olympic official said Israel had been holding the equipment, mostly donated to the Palestinians by foreign governments, demanding payment of taxes or entry fees and sometimes under claims of security

He stated: “We got one shipment several months ago and we have not been able to bring it in,” adding, “We were forced to travel without our equipment and to buy them instead in Brazil.”

Palestine’s athletes headed for the Rio 2016 Olympics include two swimmers, two runners, a judoka and a dressage rider.

Mayada Sayyad has qualified to the 2016 Olympic marathon, while Christian Zimmerman booked his spot at the dressage riding event.

Swimmers Mary Al-Atrash and Ahmed Gebrel were granted Universality Tickets to the 50-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle races.