Aid ship in Cyprus (archives)
Photo: AFP

Iranian ship prevented from approaching Gaza

IDF says same boat which tried to reach Strip's shores on Tuesday attempted to arrive in Gaza again but was stopped by Navy

An Iranian aid ship tried to break the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for the second time Wednesday. Israel Defense Forces sources confirmed that Navy ships contacted the boat's crew and ordered them to turn back.


Iranian media reported Tuesday that the IDF prevented the ship from approaching the Strip – a report which was later denied by the Israeli army.


The boat was making its way to Gaza through the Suez Canal. It docked at Egypt's Port Said on Tuesday evening and the crew attempted to unload the goods on the deck, but the Egyptians turned them down. The ship then continued towards Gaza.


At around midnight, as the boat approached the Strip's shores, its crew was informed that they would not be allowed to reach Gaza sue to the blockade. The ship attempted to return to Egypt, but was stopped by the Egyptian authorities and tried to approach Gaza once again on Wednesday morning.


When it was several miles away from the shore, the ship was approached by an Israeli Navy missile boat. Its screw was contacted by the Israeli ship, which made it clear that the boat would not be allowed to move any closer.


The boat moved some 30 miles away from the Gaza shores, while being followed by the Navy ship.


Iranian media reported that Navy ships issued a warning to the Iranian boat some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Strip's shores. The head of the Iranian Red Crescent said that his organization was holding diplomatic consultations in a bid to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.


The Red Crescent secretary-general, Ahmad Moussavi, said Tuesday that the aid boat had left a southern Iranian port about two weeks ago, carrying some 2,000 tons of humanitarian equipment for the Strip's residents, including medicines and food.


He added that another shipment of equipment and money collected in Iran in recent weeks, weighing 30 tons, was sent to Cairo on a plane, and that the delivery of this aid was waiting for approval in el-Arish.


The Egyptian authorities are being briefed on the Iranian boat by the Israeli Navy. According to a recent report, a Palestinian ship carrying humanitarian equipment is also making its way to Gaza and will be ordered to turn back as well.


פרסום ראשון: 01.14.09, 15:52
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