Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gaza-bound aid convoy to depart Greece

The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, 2010. (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Hundreds of activists at Greek ports prepare to board Gaza-bound ships, carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged coastal enclave in defiance of the Israeli blockade.

Around 350 pro-Palestinian activists from 22 countries are set to join the Freedom Flotilla II, seeking to break the Israeli naval siege, AFP reported on Sunday.

Vaggelis Pissias, head organizer of the Ship to Gaza mission, said the boats will leave from various ports in Greece or meet off the coast.

Greece is being used as a departure point due to its geographic position and its “historical, cultural relations with Arab countries,” said Pissias.

In a recent development, the Israeli Navy announced that it would confront the Freedom Flotilla II convoy, which is scheduled to set sail towards Gaza on Tuesday. The convoy will comprise of 15 ships, 22 organizations and around 1,500 activists.

Two cargo boats of the flotilla will carry medicines, a fully-equipped ambulance car and cement to the impoverished Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, 2010, killing nine Turkish nationals aboard the Turkish-flagged MV Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other activists that were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.

“What happened last year caused us grave concern ... but we are determined to go to Gaza,” Pissias further explained.

Ankara said the Mavi Marmara had been withdrawn this year. There would be no Turkish vessels involved in the operation as boats from several countries, including Greece, France, Italy and Spain, will join the Freedom Flotilla II.

The Israeli regime laid an economic siege on Gaza in June 2007 after an elected Hamas government took control of the strip.

Some 1.5 million people in Gaza are being denied their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and the right to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.

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