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Fasting for Gaza while driving from UAE to Kuwait.

Three friends in the UAE plan to drive to Kuwait and back while fasting to "remind people" children are still suffering in the Gaza Strip.

They plan to drive in 12-hour shifts for 20 days in a gruelling 9,000 kilometre trip -- stopping only to refuel -- that will pass through the capital cities of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

"The recent Israeli attacks on the Palestinian Gaza Strip may be over in an official sense, but it will take many years for children's lives to get back to normal. We're doing this to remind people that we can't forget them just yet," said Anwar Ahmad, one of the drivers getting behind the wheel in May.

Over 400 children were killed and more than 1,000 injured in Israeli bombings during the December 2008 - January 2009 conflict, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

"We'll stop in capital cities of the Gulf countries, at schools and social clubs, to encourage people to send gifts to them. It's a difficult road to recovery for the children, but it can be done with everyone's help."

Ahmad, a Dubai-born Pakistani, and his two friends will be fasting from dawn to dusk during the journey to save time spent on food, drink and toilet breaks.

"We've been training for six months in the UAE, driving from one end of the country to the other -- Sila to Fujairah -- back and forth. We had to see how much we can take; we had to be sure we could do this," said Ahmad, 34.

"My car -- a 1992 Toyota Corolla -- is old, but the human spirit is the real driving force behind overcoming hurdles."

Ahmad said a car engineer and mechanic have taught them how to carry out basic repairs in case the vehicle broke down. "We'll probably have to change tires, brakes, and engine oil several times. However, the car has been given the green light by the 'technical team'. We're just waiting for all the visa applications to clear," he added.

The trio will drive back on the same route, taking an equal amount of time.

"Falling asleep is the biggest risk. High-beams and rude drivers on the roads are other threats."

The other two drivers don't yet want to be identified, Ahmad said.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Mar 18, 2009
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