Free Gaza movement launching fifth voyage to Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY - Western pro-Palestinian campaigners will set sail to the Gaza Strip in a fifth attempt to break Israel’ economic blockade of the enclave, a Palestinian official said Thursday.

By (DPA)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Thu 18 Dec 2008, 9:20 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:14 PM

A ship of the US-based Free Gaza movement, the Dignity, is scheduled to leave the Cypriot port of Larnaca on Friday afternoon and due to arrive in Gaza on Saturday.

It will be carrying representatives of aid organizations, human rights activists and journalists, said Jamal al-Khodary, a Palestinian lawmaker who leads a committee against the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Free Gaza movement, which has made four such voyages to Gaza since August, said the ship would be sending another ton of medicine, baby formula and gifts to the strip, donated by Qatar. Two Qatari envoys would be accompanying the supplies.

Al-Khodary said the campaigners will visit hospitals, schools and farms in Gaza and be briefed about the effects of the Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza since June 2007.

Despite initial warnings, Israel did not intercept the earlier boats sent to the strip by the Free Gaza, after they underwent security checks in Cyprus.

Last month however, Israel turned back a Libyan ship carrying 3,000 tonnes of aid. Israel and Libya are enemy states.

Al-Khodary said a Lebanese boat is also expected to sail to Gaza in early January.

Israel imposed its blockade on the Gaza Strip in response to near daily rocket attacks at its southern towns and villages. It tightened the blockade when Hamas seized sole control of the salient in June 2007, stepped up the rocket fire and abducted an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid who is still behind held in the strip. dpa sar ok ds

Mideast-Conflicts/Gaza/ EXTRA: Smugglers pumping cooking gas into Gaza for first time

Gaza City (dpa) - Palestinian smugglers have for the first time succeeded in pumping cooking gas into the Gaza Strip via pipelines installed in an underground tunnel, tunnel owners said Thursday.

The tunnel owners have been trying to lay pipes in their tunnels for pumping gas into the strip for months, but had thus far been unsuccessful. Several pipes even exploded, causing injuries.

On Wednesday, a trial pumping finally succeeded and small amounts of gas flowed through the new copper lines layed out in a tunnel dug for this purpose, said the tunnel owners, who asked not to be named.

The gas smugglers, sponsored by Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, plan to increase the amounts of gas pumped into Gaza after the trial succeeded, they added.

A vast network of tunnels stretches out under the Gaza-Egypt border town of Rafah, through which Palestinians smuggle scarce goods ranging from cigarettes to jerrycans with petrol. The number of tunnels is currently estimated at 400.

Thus far, Palestinian smugglers brought gas for household use into the strip via the tunnels in balloons weighing 12-15 kilogrammes, an expensive operation that pushed up the price of gas cylinders to over 100 dollars a piece.

Since it imposed a tight economic blockade on the strip in response to rocket attacks, Israel has allowed only limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial diesel for Gaza’s power plant through its border crossings with the enclave.

It has restricted other types of fuel, including petrol for private cars.

More news from