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Gaza flotilla delayed in Cyprus

29 May 2010 12:50

An aid flotilla bound for Gaza in defiance of an Israeli embargo was poised to set sail on Saturday, after a delay caused by technical snags and fears Israel might seize one of the ships, organizers said. “We won’t begin leaving until Saturday but the boats are still going,” Audrey Bomse of the Free Gaza Movement that organized the multi-national flotilla “We’ve changed the coordinates twice because reportedly Israel has threatened to capture the Turkish ship so we decided to delay getting all the boats together,” she added.

The United Nations urged restraint Thursday as Israel vowed to stop pro-Palestinian activists aboard an aid-laden flotilla from reaching the besieged, Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

“We understand from press reports that private citizens have assembled a number of ships carrying material intended for Gaza and will seek to deliver these materials directly by sea to Gaza,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement. “We strongly urge that all involved act with a sense of care and responsibility and work for a satisfactory resolution,” he added. Nesirky restated UN opposition “to the closure of Gaza and our concern at the insufficient flow of material through legitimate crossing points to meet basic needs, begin reconstruction, and revive economic life.” He said the world body continued to urge Israeli authorities “to facilitate a greater range and quantity of traffic through legitimate crossings to meet urgent needs in Gaza.”

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