Egypt blocks ship carrying aid to Gaza

PressTV – Mon Jan 3, 2011 10:19PM

Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan activists (file photo)
Egyptian authorities have prevented an Asian convoy’s ship carrying humanitarian aid and activists from reaching the Gaza Strip.

The ship has not allowed to dock at the Egyptian port of El Arish.

The vessel, which is part of a sizeable pro-Palestinian relief mission, is said to be carrying eight activists as well as $1 million worth of relief supplies for the Israel-blockaded Gaza Strip.

“Egypt still didn’t allow the aid ship to dock. It is 50 hours,” dpa quoted the activists as saying on Monday, noting that they are in a “bad situation.”

The convoy, which in its full size is also known as Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan or Asia 1, is joined by activists of 18 different nationalities.

It has traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Lebanon. It was forced to remain in Syria for a week, awaiting Cairo’s authorization to dock at its northeastern port of El Arish.

The activists say they want to display solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance against Israel.

Tel Aviv has been enforcing an all-out land, aerial and naval blockade on the 1.5 million Palestinians in the enclave since mid-June 2007.

Palestinians have frequently accused Cairo of collaborating with Tel Aviv to increase pressure on Gaza by refusing to allow aid convoys to reach the region.

Last January, the Egyptian riot police injured 55 people in the port during clashes with the activists of the high-profile Viva Palestina convoy — a mission, which had been organized by a UK-based charity of the same name.

Following the tension, Cairo accused the members of the mission of committing “criminal” acts in the country and banned all Gaza-headed relief convoys from using its territory.

Meanwhile, a group of Iranian students gathered in front of the representative office of Egypt in Tehran on Monday in order to protest Cairo’s continued policy of preventing humanitarian convoys from reaching the besieged coastal sliver.

They also called on the Egyptian government to cooperate with the Asian aid convoy and provide free passage into Gaza for the aid activists.

HN/GHN/MGH

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PressTV – Egypt blocks ship carrying aid to Gaza.