Iran to send 3 aid ships to Gaza with Turkish help

The first two ships will head to Gaza in coordination with the Turkish government.

Iran to send 3 aid ships to Gaza with Turkish help

The Iranian Red Crescent said on Monday that it will send three aid ships to Gaza in the latest bid to break the blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory by Israel.

It will also send a plane carrying 30 tonnes of medical equipment to Egypt for onward delivery to Gaza.

Red Crescent director for international affairs Abdolrauf Adibzadeh told Iranian media that two ships would leave for Gaza this week, followed at a later date by a third vessel.

The first two ships will head to Gaza in coordination with the Turkish government.

Of the two ships, "one will carry 70 aid workers such as nurses and medics and the other will have foodstuffs and medicines," Adibzadeh was quoted as saying on the state television website.

"The (two) ships will be sent to Gaza by end of this week," Adibzadeh told the state IRNA news agency.

The news agency said the third vessel would be equipped with an onboard operating theatre and would head for the Palestinian territory at a later date.

Adibzadeh said the Red Crescent had called for Iranian volunteers to act as relief workers and accompany the first two vessels.

The head of the Iranian Red Crescent, Abolhassan Fakhi, told the Fars news agency that 20,000 volunteers had already registered over the past three days.

Adibzadeh said an aid plane would "leave in a short time for Egypt in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent."

The Iranian Red Crescent had previously sent an aid ship carrying food and medicines to Gaza in December 2008 but it was prevented from reaching the territory by the Israeli navy.

Nine people, including eight Turkish and one U.S. citizen of Turkish descent, died when Israeli forces raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31. Around 30 people were wounded in the attack.

The Turkish minister defined the Israeli attack on aid flotilla as a problem between Israel and international community and international law, not a problem between Turkey and Israel. The ship was also carrying activists from Britain, Germany, Malaysia, Belgium, Ireland and elsewhere.

Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Haziran 2010, 15:42
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