IDF officials denied Tuesday Iran's claims that the Israeli Navy prevented an Iranian vessel carrying humanitarian supplies from reaching the Gaza Strip. The IDF Spokesperson's Office said that the Navy did not engage in any contact with the Iranian vessel.
Earlier Tuesday, Iran's Red Crescent Director Ahmed Musawi said that "the Zionist regime's Navy prevented the organization's vessel from reaching Gaza." The comments were reported by Iranian news agency Maher. The report did not provide any further details aside from noting that the ship's request to enter Gaza's territorial waters was rejected.
Musawi said the Navy stopped the Iranian vessel about 20 miles away from Gaza, while according to international conventions a naval blockade may only be imposed 12 miles away from shore.
The Iranian official said the vessel left a southern Iran port about 13 days ago and is carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian supplies earmarked for Gaza residents, including medicine and food. He added that another delivery of equipment and money collected in Iran in recent weeks was sent to Cairo in a plane; however, this aid shipment too has not yet reached Gaza and awaits Egypt's authorization, he said.
Since the outbreak of the Gaza campaign, Iran has made an effort to present itself as the defender of the Palestinian people, using the issue of humanitarian aid to smear Israel in the international media.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report