Gaddafi Jr. Will he reach ship?
photo: Reuters
Libyan vessel. Docking in Crete
Photo: AFP

Libya preventing Gaddafi Jr. from joining ship

Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reports country's authorities have restricted takeoff of private flights in bid to prevent Libyan leader's son from joining aid vessel attempting to reach Gaza

In a surprising move, Libyan authorities decided Sunday to restrict the takeoff of private flights from the country for fear that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi would try to join an aid ship attempting to reach the Gaza Strip, the London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Monday.


The vessel, "Amal," which set sail from the Lavrio port in Greece, docked in Crete on Sunday afternoon. Saif Gaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and head of the organization which initiated the sail, is interested in joining the ship and has begun preparing to do so.


A Libyan official told the London-based paper that the Libyan authorities were trying to prevent Gaddafi Jr. from reaching the ship. The official, who asked to remain anonymous, told al-Sharq al-Awsat in a phone call from Tripoli that the flight restriction includes private flights to Greece, Cyprus and Crete, in addition to charter flights.


"Libya does not wish to intervene and believes the aid sail to Gaza conceals an adventure and a risk," he said. "Therefore, it has been decided to ban private flights. The decision is aimed at preventing Saif al-Islam and other Libyan figures from joining the ship.


"Officially, Libya has nothing to do with the ship, and if any problem occurs it will cause an embarrassment on the international level," the official added. "Thus, we don't want any Libyan nationals on the ship, in order to prevent them from facing any danger, particularly from Israel, which has been repeating its threats to forcibly stop the ship."


While official Libyan media outlets have been ignoring the developments in the ship's journey, the Gaddafi foundation has set up a special website for the ship. According to an announcement published on the website on Sunday, the ship is determined to reach Gaza.


"Had our destination been the al-Arish port, we would have spared ourselves the time and the effort, given money and sent a land convoy as we did last year," the announcement read.


The 27 people onboard the ship seek to deliver tons of food and medical aid to Gaza's residents. Most of the goods were donated by companies and charity organizations in Greece.



פרסום ראשון: 07.12.10, 11:22
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