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Malaysia bans entry of container owned by Israeli shipping giant Zim, turns it back to Thailand

Malaysian customs had denied entry to a lorry carrying a container believed to be owned by Israeli shipping giant Zim as it attempted to cross the border from Thailand, Malaysia’s state newswire Bernama said on Wednesday.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has banned all vessels owned by Zim, along with any ship bearing the Israeli flag, from docking and unloading cargo at its ports, in one of the most substantial moves by any Southeast Asian nation to protest against Israel’s war on Gaza.

The container was detected on Sunday as the trailer was passing through the immigration and customs checkpoint in Padang Besar on the Malaysian side of the border with Thailand, according to Ismail Hashim, the head of the customs in northern Perlis state.

“During the image-scanning process, the operator of the scanning machine found that the container bore the logo of Zim. The vehicle was detained for confirmation and further inspection,” Ismail was quoted as saying by Bernama.

“The container was instructed to turn back to [the] neighbouring country on the same day.”

Malaysia has been among the most vocal supporters of the Palestinian cause since last October as Israel launched its war on Gaza, which has so far killed over 36,000 people, mostly civilians, according to the enclave’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Anwar has used bilateral and global engagements to criticise Israel’s bombardments that have levelled most of the territory, as well as the United States’ continued diplomatic and military support of its Middle Eastern ally.

At home, Malaysians have boycotted businesses seen to have links to Israel and the US, which has caused sharp losses for the local operators of fast food giants McDonald’s and KFC and US coffee chain Starbucks.