close
Monday June 17, 2024

Turkish aid flotilla for Gaza stopped

The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) is the primary organizer of the civilian Freedom Flotilla Coalition

By Reuters
April 28, 2024
The Akdeniz RoRo, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, is loaded with goods as it is anchored in Tuzla seaport, near Istanbul on April 19, 2024. — AFP
The Akdeniz RoRo, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, is loaded with goods as it is anchored in Tuzla seaport, near Istanbul on April 19, 2024. — AFP

NICOSIA: A humanitarian aid flotilla destined for Gaza was halted after Guinea Bissau decided to remove its flag from two vessels, activist group Freedom Flotilla Coalition said on Saturday.

“The Guinea-Bissau International Ships Registry (GBISR), in a blatantly political move, informed the Freedom Flotilla Coalition that it had withdrawn the Guinea Bissau flag from two of the Freedom Flotilla’s ships, one of which is our cargo ship,” the activists said.

The three-strong flotilla had been due to sail on Friday from ports in Turkey with more than 5,000 tonnes of aid on board, the activists said, and described the inspection and request by Guinea Bissau authorities as unusual and political.

GBISR was not immediately available for comment.

The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) is the primary organizer of the civilian Freedom Flotilla Coalition, which is comprised of human rights activists, including lawyers, doctors and nurses who came together to deliver aid directly to Gaza.

On Friday, United Nations experts demanded the safe passage of the flotilla and called on Israel to adhere to international law and orders of the International Court of Justice to allow unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.

“Without a flag, we cannot sail. But, this is not the end. Israel cannot and will not crush our resolve to break its illegal siege and reach the people of Gaza,” the activists said.

in a related development, aid shipments to Gaza from Cyprus resumed late on Friday, a Cypriot source said, with a ship carrying food to the besieged Palestinian enclave after a pause following Israel’s killing of seven aid workers.

The World Central Kitchen NGO paused aid to review its activity in the territory after the early April attack, halting the direct shipments into Gaza from Cyprus. A small cargo vessel left the port of Larnaca on Friday night with aid donated by the United Arab Emirates, a Cypriot source said. The U.S. has started construction of a floating jetty on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast that will enable aid deliveries pre-screened in Cyprus with Israeli oversight. Once that aid reaches Gaza, it will still need to pass through Israeli checkpoints on land.