Flotilla set for final leg of Gaza blockade-busting bid

by Charlie Charalambous

NICOSIA (AFP) – Hundreds of activists braced on Friday for the final leg of their attempt to bust the Gaza Strip embargo, a bid Israel vowed to defeat, as each side accused the other of violating international law.

Two cargo ships and five smaller boats loaded with thousands of tonnes of supplies and hundreds of passengers steamed towards a rendezvous off Cyprus where they planned to group before setting out for the Palestinian territory.

Organisers said an eighth ship, the Rachel Corrie that had left from Ireland, was lagging behind and would travel towards Gaza separately.

The ships will meet in international waters, they said.

“The Cypriot government does not want us to leave from Cyprus. I can only assume pressure was put on them,” said Audrey Bomse, a member of the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) that organised the flotilla.

A Cypriot government official said of the flotilla that Nicosia had not received any formal request from the Palestinian Authority for humanitarian aid.

Bomse told AFP that a plan to ferry about 25 multi-national MPs from Cyprus to one of the ships also had been abandoned.

“This is a group of MPs waiting to be ferried to another boat. The government said if we kept it quiet we would be able to do it but there was a huge amount of pressure and I suppose they gave in to Israel,” she charged.

Bomse added the plan had been modified, and the group would now try to get the MPs on board from the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

To read more, visit: https://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100528/wl_afp/mideastconflictgazademoaid_20100528153029;_ylt=Anu8HAAv4697e4Y3n0.0.KABS5Z4

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