AL-ARISH: A Libyan ship that failed to break Israel’s Gaza blockade was being unloaded in the Egyptian port of Al-Arish on Friday, a day after docking there, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.
The director of the port of Al-Arish, Gamal Abdel Maqsoud, said the diverted ship will unload its cargo and transfer it to the Red Crescent for delivery to Gaza. The 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies will be transported overland into Gaza across the Egyptian border, after being inspected.
Meanwhile, the nine pro-Palestinian activists that traveled aboard the aid vessel, the Amalthea, said they would not accompany the shipment to Gaza, as their aim had been to arrive there by sea.
But representatives of Libya’s Qaddafi Foundation, which chartered the ship, are due to arrive soon to travel with the aid to Gaza, Egypt’s official Mena news agency quoted Libyan Masha Allah Hamed Abderrahman as saying.
A day earlier, Israeli navy ships stopped the aid vessel from reaching Hamas-ruled Gaza. Israel imposed the blockade after Hamas violently overran the territory in June 2007.
The standoff between Israel’s navy and the crew of the Amalthea followed a botched Israeli raid on a similar Gaza-bound ship in May in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed.
The international criticism over that raid forced Israel to ease its land blockade of the territory, but it has maintained the naval embargo, insisting it is vital to keep weapons out of Hamas’ hands.
Activists hold Palestinian flags next to a banner that reads in Arabic "The ship of hope" during the docking of the Libyan aid vessel Amalthea at the port of the coastal city of al Arish. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)