Lebanese All-Women Aid Ship to Head to Gaza via Cyprus Sunday
Organizers of a Lebanese women-only aid ship which plans to break the Gaza blockade announced on Thursday they will sail to Cyprus on the first leg of their journey this weekend.
“The ship Mariam will leave for Cyprus on Sunday at 10 pm (1900 GMT) from the port of Tripoli” in north Lebanon, organizer Samar al-Hajj told reporters outside the port.
The Mariam, a Bolivian-flagged cargo ship, plans to carry aid to Gaza in a bid to break the four-year inhumane siege of Gaza with 50 Lebanese and foreign women activists on board.
The Mariam, renamed in honor of the Virgin Mary, would need Cypriot authorization to depart for Gaza from its shores but officials in Cyprus have said the island was keeping in place a ban on ships departing for Gaza.
“The Cypriot ambassador to Lebanon tried to convince us not to go and reiterated that his country would not grant us authorization to sail to Gaza,” Hajj told AFP. “But we are adamant,” she added. “We have no arms and we will go to Gaza.”
The “Naji al-Ali,” another Lebanese boat organized by journalists and originally named Julia, has also announced it would sail to Gaza via Cyprus but has not yet received clearance from Lebanese authorities.