Free Gaza boats to return Cyprus with stranded Palestinians aboard 2008-08-28 17:19:26   Print

Special report: Palestine-Israel Relations
    GAZA, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Two "Free Gaza and Liberty" boats carrying International pro-Palestinian activists will leave Gaza for Cyprus on Thursday, together with several stranded students and patients aboard.

    Jamal al-Khodary, an independent Palestinian lawmaker who leads a lobby against the Israeli siege on Gaza, said the two boats will set off their voyage at 13:00 (1100 GMT) to Cyprus, and the conveyance of the stuck Palestinians will be arranged by the authorities there.

    "The foreign activists' sailing back to Cyprus is the beginning of the field work to break the siege," al-Khodary said.

    Some 45 international peace and human rights activists and journalists sailed across the Mediterranean in two wooden boats and challenged an Israeli naval blockade into the Gaza Strip.

    On Saturday, Israel allowed the boats to enter Gaza after making sure that they carried medical supplies and that the boats were examined in Cyprus. The move was organized by the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement.

    When they arrived in Gaza, Hamas authorities organized tours for the activists to show how the one-year Israeli blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory affects people's daily life.

    Israel sealed off crossing points into Gaza last year when Hamas took over control of the coastal Strip, allowing little more than basic food and medicine into the impoverished enclave.

    "The activists are determined to go on their way until the Gaza siege is lifted," said al-Khodary.

    Paul Larudee, head of Free Gaza Movement, said he is proud to be in Gaza, promising that they will return and continue efforts to expose the negative consequences of the siege.

Editor: Pliny Han
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