Israel warns Gaza-bound Libyan aid ship

14:36, July 12, 2010      

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by Dave Bender

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday evening that the Amalthea ship, reportedly heading towards Gaza with humanitarian aid, would be in violation of an ongoing Israeli naval blockade.

"It would be better if it didn't happen at all," Barak said, adding "cargo can be transferred to Gaza via the Ashdod port following inspection, but we won't allow weapons, ammunition and warfare materials to enter Gaza," local daily Ha'aretz reported.

Carrying a large amount of food and medicine, the Moldova- flagged vessel is funded by an organization chaired by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son.

"There are no limitations on civilian goods reaching the civilian population in Gaza," Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli prime minister's office, told Xinhua on Sunday, amplifying the official stance. "They can unload their cargo for the people of Gaza in either Ashdod or el-Arish," Regev added, referring to the latest Libyan attempt.

"Any diversion from its current course towards Gaza will be stopped by the Israeli Navy, using all of the tools at its disposal," an Israeli military official told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

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