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Turkish activists say new flotilla set for Gaza to challenge Israeli blockade

Published on Aug 11, 2014 7:27 PM

ISTANBUL (REUTERS) - A Turkish aid group said on Monday it would send ships again to Gaza to challenge the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory, some four years after Israeli commandos stormed its flotilla of Gaza-bound ships and killed 10 people.

The incident wrecked diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel, once close Middle East allies but whose relationship had been tense since late 2008 over a previous Israeli operation against Gaza.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said in an e-mailed statement that members of a “coalition” of pro-Palestinian activists from 12 countries had met in Istanbul at the weekend and decided to launch a convoy “in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza”, referring to the latest, month-long war. Fighting has abated under a 72-hour ceasefire deal. “The Freedom Flotilla Coalition affirmed that, as most governments are complicit, the responsibility falls on civil society to challenge the Israeli blockade on Gaza,” it said.

An IHH spokeswoman did not elaborate. The group will hold a news conference on Tuesday, she said.

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