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Report: Gaza-bound Syrian aid ship sets sail

Sept. 18, 2010 3:18 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 19, 2010 1:07 P.M.)
TARTOUS, Syria (Ma'an) -- An aid boat destined for Gaza set sail Saturday from the Syrian port of Tartous, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

State Minister for the Syrian Red Crescent Basahr Al-Shaar said the ship will bring 650 tons of humanitarian aid, including 40 tons of medical supplies, and will travel to Gaza via the Egyptian port of Al-Arish.

''The Syrian people, from all walks of life, took part in the donations, mainly the NGOs and economic bodies,'' said Al-Shaar told the news site.

Chairman of the Syrian Red Crescent Abdulrahman Al-Attar said he hoped the aid would arrive in Gaza to ease the plight of the Palestinians living in the blockaded coastal enclave.

In August, an all-woman aid boat from Lebanon delayed its plans to set sail for Gaza, after Israel warned it would use force if necessary to prevent the ship from docking. The voyage of the boat, christened "The Mariam," planned to sail from a Greek-controlled Cyprus port, which later said it will not be allowing the ship to travel.

The wave of aid ships hoping to dock in Gaza follows an Israeli raid on the Freedom Flotilla in international waters on 31 May, during which Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish nationals.

Viva Palestina prepares for latest Gaza aid convoy

Jordanian workers' union will send 50 truckloads of aid to Gaza as part of the fifth Viva Palestina convoy, a spokesman for the British organization said Thursday.

Zahir Berawi said 50 trucks from Algeria would also join the European convoy when it reaches Syria in October. The convoy is due to leave London on Saturday and head to the Egyptian Al-Arish port.

New Zealand activist Nicola Enchmarch visited Jordan recently to coordinate the aid, while former British parliamentarian George Galloway visited organizers in Algeria.

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