Iranian aid ships head for Gaza, MPs plan to visit

Also, a delegation of parliamentarians plan to travel to Gaza via Egypt.

Iranian aid ships head for Gaza, MPs plan to visit

Iran is sending aid ships to blockaded Gaza, state radio said on Monday.

One ship left port on Sunday and another will depart by Friday, loaded with food, construction material and toys, the report said. "Until the end of (Israel's) Gaza blockade, Iran will continue to ship aid," said an official at Iran's Society for the Defence of the Palestinian Nation.

Iran has sent aid to the coastal territory in the past via Egypt. It was not immediately clear if the latest shipments would do the same, or try to dock in Gaza itself.

The deputy head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards rejected reports that the Guards would provide a military escort to aid ships heading to Gaza.

"Such a thing is not on our agenda," Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

Also, a delegation of parliamentarians plan to travel to Gaza via Egypt.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of parliament's Foreign Policy and National Security committee, said Egyptian authorities were "positive" about the lawmaker's proposed visit, but had yet to issue formal consent.

Up to a quarter of Iran's 291 lawmakers have expressed their wish to go to Gaza, Iranian media reported.

The actions are in response to Israel's boarding of a flotilla of Turkish aid ships heading to Gaza on May 31 in which troops killed nine pro-Palestinian activists after they were set upon by some passengers with metal rods and knives.

An official of the Iranian Red Crescent Society's youth organisation said some 100,000 Iranians had volunteered as potential crew for aid ships, daily newspaper Iran reported.


Reuters

Last Mod: 14 Haziran 2010, 16:31
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