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Pro-Palestinian activist aims to take aid to Gaza again on flotilla

1 min

Huwaida Arraf, a pro-Palestinian activist, said on Thursday she would join a flotilla planning to carry aid to Gaza from Turkey, aiming to break a naval blockade 14 years after Israeli forces raided the ship she was travelling on during a similar mission.

View of the Mavi Marmara ship, the lead boat of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip which was stormed by Israeli naval commandos, May 2014, Istanbul © Mena Today 

Huwaida Arraf, a pro-Palestinian activist, said on Thursday she would join a flotilla planning to carry aid to Gaza from Turkey, aiming to break a naval blockade 14 years after Israeli forces raided the ship she was travelling on during a similar mission.

Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down as a result of that incident in 2010, when Israeli commandos enforcing a blockade of the Gaza Strip killed 10 activists on board the Mavi Marmara ship.

Now an international group of NGOs, spearheaded by Turkey's IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, is planning to send three ships, two of which will carry aid, to Gaza. They will hold a news conference on Friday to announce details of the plan.

"We are taking to sea to attempt to deliver this aid and to directly challenge the siege in hopes of breaking it," Arraf, a human rights lawyer, told Reuters on board a ship which is part of the planned flotilla.

"We understand that Israel might attack us... With all eyes on our ships, we hope that Israel will decide not to. But if they do, again, people on board will be trained in nonviolent resistance," said Arraf, a Palestinian-American.

The ship she was on, Akdeniz, will carry passengers including aid workers and media, to Gaza from Istanbul and it is expected to sail in the coming days or weeks.

Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen

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