The 'Rachel Corrie'
Photo: AFP

Crew: 'Rachel Corrie' to arrive in Gaza within 24 hours

Flotilla's legal advisor says aid ship headed for Hamas-ruled territory instructed to return to Ireland due to Israel's sabotage of accompanying vessels, but crew says voyage to continue as planned

Despite reports that the aid ship "Rachel Corrie" may turn back due to malfunctions discovered on two accompanying vessels that are carrying reporters, the aid ship's crew said Friday it is due to arrive in Gaza within 24 hours.


Earlier, Audrey Bomse, one of the organizers of the Gaza aid flotilla told Ynet that following Israel's sabotage of press vessels meant to follow the "Rachel Corrie" en route to the Hamas-ruled territory, her group intends on calling the vessel back to Ireland, pending repairs.


Bomse, the Free Gaza movement's legal advisor, noted that her group has not been able to contact the ship since late Thursday night, adding it may indicate that Israel sabotaged the radio system.


However, another activist aboard the "Rachel Corrie" said he was not aware of any change in the original plan and that the vessel is continuing its voyage to Gaza.


Bomse told Ynet that as the ship left Cyprus a malfunction was detected in two of the accompanying vessels, Challenger 1 and Challenger 2. She said Challenger 1, which carried reporters, sustained more severe damage that will take weeks to repair, and the organizers realized the vessel could not join the flotilla. At this point, Bomse said, the organizers instructed the "Rachel Corrie" to turn around. Challenger 2 is currently docked in Cyprus, she told Ynet.


According to Bomse, Israel admitted to resorting to "grey" measures to stop the flotilla.


On Thursday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a special session held by the forum of top seven government ministers that Israel will not allow any ships to reach the Gaza Strip.


"We shall not allow the ships to reach Gaza. Not now and not later on. We intend to direct the Rachel Corrie ship to the Ashdod Port and transfer its civilian goods to Gaza following a security check," he said.


Meanwhile, Israeli security personnel are continuing to unload the humanitarian supplies from the Gaza-bound aid vessels that were seized Monday. The supplies include clothes, blankets, mattresses, and medicines, some of which have expired over a year ago.


Israel said the cargo also contained camouflage fabrics meant for Hamas terrorists in Gaza, adding that the Palestinians are continuing to delay the transfer of the supplies to Gaza.


פרסום ראשון: 06.04.10, 08:15
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