Israel Threatens Libyan Aid Ship for Gaza - 11July2010 - English

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To defy Israel's four-year blockade of the impoverished Palestinian enclave, a Libyan aid ship departs for the Egyptian port of El-Arish en route to Gaza. The cargo ship Amalthea, which left the Greek port of Lavrio, southeast of Athens, late Saturday, is carrying 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies, including sacks of rice, sugar, corn oil and olive paste, intended for suffering Gazans. "We hope that the Israeli authorities would not ban the ship from entering the port of Gaza," said Youssef Sawani, Executive Director of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation. The foundation is chaired by the son of Libyan Leader, Muammar Gaddafi. "I think the Israelis need to understand that we are not provoking any kind of action, we are not in military action, we are a peaceful organization, a humanitarian organization," he said. Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said he has discussed the ship's planned trip with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday. The ship has nine crew members — six Libyans, a Moroccan, a Nigerian and an Algerian. This latest attempt comes after Israeli commandos attacked the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy on May 31 in international waters, killing 9 Turkish activists. The Israeli assault sparked a worldwide condemnation and a row between Ankara and Tel Aviv. Turkey's Prime Minister demanded that Israel apologize for the deadly attack on the Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara, offer compensation to the victims, agree to an international investigation and end the blockade of Gaza. It also recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and cancelled military exercises with Israel. It has also twice denied Israel the use of its airspace. Israel has refused to apologize, claiming its commandos only used force to defend themselves after being ambushed.

Added by sethar12 on 11-07-2010
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