Aid flotilla set sail from Crete for Gaza
The Pro-Palestinian flotilla carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip set sail from Crete overnight Thursday, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.
The Swedish “Marianne av Göteborg” is the first boat of the so-called Freedom Flotilla III to set sail. It aims to deliver medical equipment and solar cell panels for use in Gaza, according to a statement by the Ship to Gaza campaign.
On board of the boat are Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas and former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, alongside 70 other activists and crew.
The flotilla is due to arrive in Gaza on Sunday or Monday, but it seems unlikely Israel will allow it to reach the Gaza coast.
In May 2010 nine Turkish citizens were killed after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla that was attempting to reach Gaza. An Israeli inquiry found that the soldiers opened fire after the activists aboard the ship attempted to attack them with knives and metal rods.
Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 after militants there seized an Israeli soldier, who was eventually freed in 2011 in a trade for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Cairo has also maintained a blockade on the Strip.
The blockade was strengthened in 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement took control of Gaza, then eased somewhat following an international outcry over the killing of the Turkish activists.
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