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Haniyeh: Palestinians welcome flotilla

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh says the Gaza Strip will welcome the flotilla carrying aid for Palestinians in the besieged enclave.

Hundreds of activists from 50 countries are aboard nine ships en route to Gaza loaded with 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid and building materials to break Israeli-imposed blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“The move is highly appreciated by the Palestinian people. We demanded the international community to back the flotilla,” Haniyeh told Press TV on Thursday.

“We want all nations to help put an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza which violates all international laws and conventions,” he added.

Israel has described the move as a “cheap political stunt” and threatened to divert the ships to its southern port of Ashdod and detain those onboard.

Palestinian officials in Gaza say Israel has no right to act against the activists.

The Palestinian Hamas movement also said that Israel’s threat to storm flotilla amounts to “Zionist piracy.”

“The occupation’s threat to prevent the Freedom Flotilla from arriving in the besieged Gaza Strip is Zionist piracy and a violation of international law,” senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said in a statement on Thursday, AFP reported.

Israel imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip with the help of Egypt in June 2007. The siege even prevents entry of goods into the Palestinian coastal enclave through the Rafah border crossing — Gaza’s only border crossing that bypasses Israel.

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