July 10 (Reuters) – A ship carrying aid for Palestinians blockaded by Israel in Gaza left Greece on Saturday, just over a month after 9 activists died in an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla trying to reach Gaza.
It was unclear if the boat, with twelve crew and up to ten activists on board, would try to reach Gaza in defiance of the Israeli blockade or would go to the Egyptian port of El Arish.
A spokesman at the Greek Foreign Ministry said the ship would head for El Arish.
An official from ACA Shipping, which owns the ship, told Reuters ahead of the ship’s departure: “The ship will leave in a few minutes for Gaza. If they don’t let us reach there (Gaza) we will head to El Arish harbour in Egypt.”
A charity chaired by the Libyan Leader’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is organising the trip and said the Amalthea vessel, re-named Hope for the trip, carried some 2,000 tons of food and medicine and complied with international rules.
Nine pro-Palestinian activists died in May when Israeli marines stormed a Turkish aid ship leading a Gaza-bound convoy, prompting world outcry and a condemnation from the United Nations Security Council.
Israel said its commandoes were attacked with knives and sticks when they boarded the ship and acted in self-defence.
(Reporting by Reuters TV and Lefteris Papadimas; additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; writing by Ingrid Melander, editing by Matthew Jones)