World Bulletin / News Desk
A second Turkish ship laden with humanitarian aid bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip docked in the Israeli port city of Ashdod on Monday.
The ship was received at Ashdod port by Cem Utkan, Turkey's charge d'affaires in Tel Aviv, along with officials from several Turkish charity associations.
The ship set out for Israel on Friday from Turkey’s southern port of Mersin bearing some 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid.
It is the second of its kind to arrive in Ashdod. In July, the Turkish government sent a first ship -- the Lady Leyla -- laden with aid that was eventually distributed to the people of the Gaza Strip.
The aid shipment that arrived in Ashdod on Monday includes foodstuffs and clothing, along with 1,000 bicycles for Gazan children and 100 wheelchairs for the disabled.
It is expected that the aid will be distributed in Gaza -- after being taken by truck from Ashdod -- before the upcoming Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which will begin on Sept. 12.
The fresh influx of Turkish aid to Gaza comes within the context of a deal signed this summer between Turkey and Israel in which the two agreed to restore diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus.
According to Turkish officials, Tel Aviv has met all of Ankara’s preconditions for normalizing ties, which were severed in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel.
The attack resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists and left another 30 injured, one of whom succumbed to his injuries nearly four years later.