Free Gaza activists take siege victims to Cyprus

A Hamas official said nine activists decided to stay in the territory in a show of solidarity with its 1.5 million inhabitants.

Free Gaza activists take siege victims to Cyprus

Two boats carrying foreign peace activists who had braved an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip left the Hamas-ruled territory on Thursday for Cyprus, taking with them seven Palestinians.

An Israeli official said the Israeli navy would not intercept the boats.

Thousands of cheering Palestinians had welcomed the boats, carrying 44 peace activists from 17 nations, when they docked in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

A Hamas official said nine activists decided to stay in the territory in a show of solidarity with its 1.5 million inhabitants.

The seven Palestinians who sailed with the activists to Cyprus included 16-year-old Sa'ad Mesleh, who lost a leg in an Israeli army attack three years ago, as well as a mother and her four children hoping to reunite with her husband.

Mesleh's father, Khaled, said he would seek to fit an artificial limb for his son in Cyprus.

"We have agreed with the Free Gaza activists to organise more sailings to Gaza in the near future," said Jamal al-Khodary, a Hamas-backed legislator.

Feraing a public confrontation, Israel did not prevent the activists to reach the Gaza Strip. They were the first foreigners to come to the territory by sea since Israel siege a year ago.

Despite an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that took effect in June, Israel has not lifted its blockade of the territory.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ağustos 2008, 17:10
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