World Bulletin / News Desk
A Turkish humanitarian aid group said the Viva Palestina convoy onboard a ship, sponsored by a Gulf businessman, is heading to Egyptian port one-week later after the date that they initially hoped to reach Gaza Strip on the first anniversary of Israel's 22-day offensive.
A Turkish cargo ship named Ulosoy 6, started its long voyage to Gaza, leaving the Syrian Lattakia port for El-Arish port at Sunday morning.
Bulent Yildirim, the President of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, said in a statement sent to World Bulletin, a charitable businessman from a Gulf state sponsored the cost of a ship and plane that would carry the convoy aid and the people to Egypt." The president of the aid group said the businessman did not want to disclose his name over the aid.
"The Palestine is a mutual matter for everyone beyond the differences of political and ideological views," he said in the statement.
The cargo ship now faces the 20-hour crossing accompanied by just a small number of campaigners.
The remaining people are expected to fly on chartered airplanes to Al-Arish and arrive on Monday. On that day, the convoy members plan to get their vehicles and make one-hour drive to the Rafah border. As everthing planned, they hope to enter Israel-besiged Gaza Strip that they will stay 24 or 48 hours according to the Egyptian government's permit.
Meanwhile, Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday for three days. According to state-run newspapers, Palestinians with travel plans and visas for foreign countries would be allowed out, along with patients in need of medical care.
The Viva Palestina convoy which started its journey on December 16, spent 18 days on its way to Gaza.
The 450 members-Viva Palestina convoy that has 220 trucks and ambulances had to return to Syria in hopes of reaching Gaza before January 3 after the Egyptian government refused to let them enter the country through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba, the most direct route, to reach the besiged Gaza land.
So, the international humanitarian aid convoy that was forced to make a detour to Syria after almost five days stranded in Jordanian port city, Aqaba, faces Egypt's deadline after a deal reached by Turkish and Syrian efforts to ease the tension between the aid convoy and the Egyptian government.
Israel and Egypt imposes siege into the occupied land home to 1.5 million people since June 2007.
Israel controls all but one of Gaza's border crossings, the Rafah terminal with Egypt, which Cairo keeps closed, drawing anger with people.
A group of international lawyers and human rights activists accuse Israel of committing "genocide" through its crippling blockade of the Strip.
Last Mod: 03 Ocak 2010, 17:00
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Turkish ship to carry Viva Palestina convoy to Egypt