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New 'freedom flotilla' to set sail from Gaza to Cyprus

The boats will carry patients and Gazans injured by Israel [Al-Araby al-Jadeed]

Date of publication: 9 July, 2018

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A flotilla of small boats carrying activists, patients, and some Palestinians injured in recent clashes near Gaza's border with Israel will attempt an arduous journey out of besieged strip.
A new attempt to break Israel's crippling blockade of Gaza will be launched on Tuesday, a local NGO in the besieged Palestinian enclave has announced.

A flotilla of small boats carrying activists, patients, and some Gazans injured in recent clashes near the border with Israel would attempt the journey from Gaza's port, the Great Return March National Organising Committee said at a press briefing Monday.

This is the second such attempt from Gaza since late May, when the 
Israeli navy stopped and seized a similar flotilla protesting its blockade on the strip. 
The small flotilla had left a port in the Palestinian enclave with the goal of breaking the decade-long Israeli blockade and aimed to reach Cyprus.

Gaza has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt for over a decade, preventing vital supplies reaching Palestinians there.

Salah Abdul Atti, one of the organisers, called on the UN to protect the flotilla and those on board and pressure Israel to allow it to reach Cyprus.

Abdul Atti also called on international organisations to work for the release of the captain of the first flotilla, Suhail al-Amoudi, who is still being detained by Israel following the interception of the boats.

Explainer: Life in Gaza under Israel's blockade

The Great Return March National Organising Committee is the group now known for staging the large border protests since late March, which Israel violently attempted to suppress. 

Since the protests began on March 30, they have been violently quashed by the Israeli army. At least 139 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

The majority of those killed were non-violent protestors, as well as journalists, bystanders and a nurse. Only a small number were seeking to breach or damage the border fence, although they too were unarmed.

No Israelis have been killed.

The 11-year-long Israeli blockade has long starved the Gaza Strip from receiving much needed humanitarian aid, including food stuffs, medical equipment, and clean water.

Starting in 2007 the blockade limits Palestinians use of their territorial sea to 9 nautical miles (16 kilometres).

This zone is allocated for fishing and other "small scale economic activity".

However, the Israeli authorities limit these activities as well, often targeting any boats which enter the zone.

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