Aid flotilla sails out toward Gaza

09:08, May 31, 2010      

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Palestinians ride boats in a preparation ceremony to receive the international aid convoy "Freedom Flotilla" in Gaza Seaport, on May 30, 2010. The organizers of the "Freedom Flotilla" said the ships set out from Cyprus Sunday morning and would arrive in Israeli waters on Monday. (Xinhua/Yasser Qudih)

The Gaza aid convoy set sail on Sunday from the Mediterranean international waters near Cyprus and headed to the besieged territory amid tension due to Israel's threats to block the convoy, organizers said.

"The ships have sailed out," the European Campaign against Gaza Siege, part of the Freedom Flotilla organizers said in a statement, adding that ships "are expected to reach Gaza shores Monday morning."

The convoy consists of more than 10,000 tons of aid, stationery, medical supplies and construction materials as well as hundreds of peace activists from over 40 countries.

However, Israel said it will bar the fleet from reaching Gaza, even before getting into the Palestinian territorial waters.

Israel imposes a tight blockade on the coastal enclave since the Islamic Hamas movement forcibly seized the territory in 2007 after routing rival Fatah party which now rules the West Bank.

On Saturday, Deposed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haneya said the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip will "break soon" even if Israel prevented the Gaza Freedom flotilla from reaching the territory.

"We are now witnessing the last moments of the Israeli siege," Haneya said as he visited Gaza's only fishing harbor to inspect the renovations his government has made in preparation to receive the aid fleet.

Source: Xinhua
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