2,000 tons of supplies. Libyan ship
Photo: AP

IDF tracking aid ship: Any attempt to reach Gaza will be thwarted

Barak calls Libyan ship's voyage 'unnecessary provocation'; suggests it dock in Ashdod or 'sail directly to Egypt.' Activist: Our job is to help people in need

The Israeli Navy is planning to keep track of the Libyan aid ship to make certain it does not try to dock in Gaza, this despite documents indicating that the vessel's destination is the El Arish harbor in Egypt.


The ship set sail from Greece on Saturday, and the Greek government said it had reached an agreement with the crew according to which the ship would not try to reach the Hamas-ruled territory.


Following the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which left nine Turkish nationals dead, the Navy is taking no chances and plans to keep track of the Libyan vessel's voyage using various devices.


"Any deviation from the original course, which will lead the ship to Gaza, will be blocked by the Navy," an IDF official said Saturday night. "In case those on board fail to follow our instructions to stop and allow the Navy vessels to escort them, we will not hesitate to employ other methods to stop them."


Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the Libyan aid vessel's journey an "unnecessary provocation," and suggested that the ship allow Navy vessels to escort it to Ashdod Port "or sail directly to El Arish Port."


"Goods can be transferred to Gaza through the Ashdod Port after they are inspected, but we will not permit the transfer of weapons or ammunition to Gaza," he said.


A charity chaired by the Libyan Leader's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is organizing the trip and said the Amalthea, re-named Hope for the trip, carried some 2,000 tons of food and medicine and complied with international rules.


The trip is expected to take between 70 and 80 hours.


One of the activists said, "Our job is to help people in need – be they Catholic, Muslim or anything else. Now we are helping the people of Gaza, who are suffering."


Roni Sofer and Reuters contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 07.10.10, 23:33
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