Alexa

Activists ready for boat trip to war-hit Gaza

Activists ready for boat trip to war-hit Gaza

A group of international activists said Monday it would try to defy an Israeli naval blockade and send a boat with medical supplies to war-hit Gaza from Cyprus.
Free Gaza Group spokeswoman Caoimhe Butterly said their 66-foot (20-meter) yacht Dignity will leave Larnaca port around 5 p.m. (1400GMT) Monday with 3.5 tons of donated supplies.
She said the yacht will carry 16 passengers, including former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia Mckinney, Cypriot lawmaker and surgeon Eleni Theocharous, journalists and activists from Britain, Australia, Ireland and Tunisia.
The Free Gaza group has successfully made five deliveries of aid by boat to Gaza since August, defying the blockade Israel imposed when Hamas won control of the territory in June 2007.
Butterly said organizers are aware the Israeli navy may stop them this time, but the urgent need to deliver aid requested by Gaza authorities "outweighs the risks" of entering a war zone.
"We're hoping that the Israelis are receptive to our very clear focus that this is a humanitarian mission," Butterly told The Associated Press. "This is a symbolic relief shipment and we hope that it will be the first of many."
Theocharous, who has made over 50 trips to Gaza to carry out surgery, said Israeli authorities have shut crossings into the Palestinian territory to volunteer doctors for the past 3 years.
"Despite the bad weather, despite the possibility that the Israeli navy will stop us, we will try to make it to send the message to the Palestinian people that they are not alone and to the rest of the world that they must consider what is going on there right now," she said.
Israel's air offensive has so far left at least 315 people dead and more than 1,400 wounded. Israel is sending more tanks toward the Gaza border and approving the call-up of thousands of reserve soldiers for a possible ground invasion.


Updated : 2021-03-08 17:44 GMT+08:00