Two French ships will join the Gaza-bound flotilla
that aims to break Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, the organizers of the initiative announced Saturday.
One of the ships is to leave from Greece and the other from France.
French organizer Claude Leostic said in a press conference in Marseille that the ship leaving from the Greek port will carry 25 passengers, including radical left-wing French politicians, as well entertainment and sports personalities.
Leostic added that he hopes to officially confirm the participation of the second ship as soon as tomorrow. A dozen passengers are expected to board the ship, which would depart from a French port next weekend.
Only last week the organizers cancelled
the departure of a French ship slated to join the 15-vessel Gaza-bound convoy. Following a letter-writing campaign initiated by the Jewish community in Marseille the organizers of the flotilla urged the dozens of activists who signed up to board the ship to seek alternative transportation.
Now, it appears that the participation of the ship, which was set to leave from Marseille, has been reinstated.
The Turkish organization IHH pulled out of the flotilla on Friday. While the chairman of the group, Bolant Yilderim, announced
that technical issues have brought to the decision, several elements credited the measure to the heavy pressure applied on the group by the Turkish government and the international community.
The IDF continue to prepare for a possible maritime confrontation. On Wednesday, Navy commandoes conducted a drill at sea. Other forces expected to take part in stopping the flotilla participated in the drill as well.
A video shot from Israeli Navy ships showed a water cannon that was directed from a commando sea craft towards a simulated flotilla ship. This tool was not used during last year's flotilla raid,
and it joins a series of resources that are to be used by the Navy in the future.