November 15, 2010

Next Freedom Flotilla ship will leave for Gaza in Spring


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The European campaign to End the Siege on Gaza announced Friday that the next in a series of ships to Gaza will embark for the besieged enclave in the spring.

The group previously participated in the May Freedom Flotilla, which saw six boats boarded by Israeli commando forces. In one ship - which refused to be commandeered - nine on board were shot dead. The Israeli military attack on ships in international waters to enforce a potentially illegal blockade sparked international outcry which saw the siege on Gaza marginally relaxed.

In a statement, coordinator of the European campaign Mazen Kahil said there was a large number of participants for the journey, with most of the ships' volunteers from Europe. Other ships have volunteered to come from Asia and the Americas, he added.

"We now have more than ten European countries that will send vessels," he wrote, naming Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, and Switzerland.

The ships will bring thousands of tons of building materials, Kahil added, and carry journalists from dozens of news agencies in a renewed effort to end the blockade of Gaza, in place since 2006.

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