Freedom Flotilla Back on Course

The Freedom Flotilla, a multinational relief mission, has set out on its journey toward Gaza after one of the two "tampered with" ships was repaired.

One of the nine ships, which was badly tampered with, had to drop out, while another was towed into the port of Famagusta in Turkish-held northern Cyprus for repairs, Elize Ernshire of the Free Gaza Movement said on Saturday.

The ships have set sail for the Gaza enclave to break the blockade imposed by Israel, which says its navy is on standby to intercept and divert the vessels to the nearby port of Ashdod.

Israel has also threatened to either jail or deport activists and politicians on board the ships.

Ernshire said the boats will arrive at around midday Sunday.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday that if Israel diverts the flotilla, which is carrying 10,000 tons of aid and around 750 international activists from about 50 countries, it would still be a big victory for the Palestinians.

“The flotilla’s message is clear and it will reach the entire world," Haniyeh said during a press conference at the port where the ships are meant to dock. “The meaning of the flotilla is that the entire world opposes the siege on the Gaza Strip, and if Israel behaves like pirates and sea-terrorists, we will win."

Israel has imposed full control on Gaza’s territorial waters and prevents any traffic to and from the territory. Although the Oslo Accords stipulate a 22km fishing zone for Gazan vessels, Israel permits only a 5.6km area.

The UN recently reported that about 60 percent of Gazan households are "food insecure" as a direct consequence of the Israeli ban on all but the most basic humanitarian goods from entering Gaza.

(Press TV)

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