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Activists vow to persist in Gaza aid effort

 The vessel SS Dignity from the group Free Gaza, arrives in the southern port city of Tyre, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008. The boat, carrying intern...
 The damaged vessel SS Dignity from the group Free Gaza, arrives in the southern port city of Tyre, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008. The boat, carryin...

Mideast Lebanon Gaza Boat

The vessel SS Dignity from the group Free Gaza, arrives in the southern port city of Tyre, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008. The boat, carrying intern...

Mideast Lebanon Gaza Boat

The damaged vessel SS Dignity from the group Free Gaza, arrives in the southern port city of Tyre, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008. The boat, carryin...

International activists pledged Wednesday to try again soon to bring humanitarian supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip despite Israel's blockade of the region.
A boat carrying international peace activists and medical supplies was turned back early Tuesday after being seriously damaged in a collision. The activists say the Israeli navy rammed the vessel, the SS Dignity, while Israel said the boat tried to outmaneuver an Israeli navy vessel and crashed into it.
The Dignity was forced to sail to the Lebanese port of Tyre for repairs to its hull and wheel-house.
"We have decided to send the same vessel or another one back within the next few days. The route to Gaza must remain open," said Vangelis Pissios, a Free Gaza group spokesman. "If (the Israelis) ram it again, so be it, let them assume the responsibility."
Pissios made the remarks during a small outdoor gathering outside the Israeli Embassy. A protest march to the embassy is planned for Saturday.
The Free Gaza group has made five deliveries of aid by boat to Gaza since August, defying the blockade imposed by Israel when Hamas won elections and control of the territory in June 2007.
The deliveries have been made more urgent in recent days, after Israel launched a bombing campaign against Palestinians in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at civilians in southern Israeli towns. The strikes in Gaza have killed around 390 people so far and wounded hundreds of others.
The 66-foot (20-meter) Dignity left Cyprus on Monday with almost 4 metric tons (3.6 tons) of supplies and 16 passengers, including former U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, Cypriot lawmaker Eleni Theocharous and activists from Britain, Australia, Ireland and Tunisia.
Pissios said Free Gaza was planning three or four missions to Gaza every month throughout the winter, and hoped to buy a larger vessel that could hold more cargo.
Meanwhile, the Greek Foreign Ministry said it would send two military transport planes with 28 metric tons (30 tons) of medical aid to Tel Aviv airport Thursday, which would then be taken to Gaza.


Updated : 2021-05-08 01:53 GMT+08:00