HomeTennisAid ship en route to Gaza with vital supplies amid Israeli attacks

Aid ship en route to Gaza with vital supplies amid Israeli attacks


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A joint effort by the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) and the Kuwait Society for Relief has launched a humanitarian aid ship from Mersin, Türkiye, destined for Gaza, which is currently under attack by Israel.

The ship, carrying 907 tons and 502 kilograms of crucial supplies, is en route to al-Arish Port in Egypt, from where it will be delivered to Gaza, according to statements from the foundation.

The aid shipment includes a diverse range of essentials such as 394,944 units of ready-to-eat food, 10,000 units of 5-kilogram (11-pound) flour, 10,000 units of other food items, 650 tents of 24 square meters each, 2,000 beds, pillows, bed sheets and carpets, 3,994 blankets, 30,000 personal hygiene kits, 23,212 packages of baby diapers, 20,180 packages of sanitary pads, 17,378 packages of wet wipes, 4,369 packages of adult diapers, 10,397 packages of detergent and 11,449 packages of dishwashing detergent.

Türkiye, a vocal critic of Israel’s actions, has pledged its support to Gaza through humanitarian aid deliveries. The latest initiative involves a flotilla named the “International Freedom Flotilla,” which aims to challenge Israel’s blockade on Gaza. The flotilla includes three ships – “Anadolu” (Anatolia), “Akdeniz” (Mediterranean), and “Vicdan” (Conscience) – and comprises volunteers and activists from 12 countries, including the United States, England and Sweden.

A week ago, Bülent Yıldırım, the head of the IHH, informed reporters that the flotilla was expected to depart for Gaza on April 15. Yıldırım mentioned that three vessels have been acquired for the flotilla, noting the challenges in obtaining ships due to the updated naval routes and regulations in the Mediterranean following the 2010 “Mavi Marmara” incident. He emphasized that these ships would sail directly to Gaza.

Mavi Marmara

In May 2010, the IHH sent an aid vessel called Mavi Marmara to Gaza along with five other civilian ships of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” in an attempt to breach the Israeli blockade. The ship was intercepted by the Israeli military in a deadly offshore raid in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Nine pro-Palestinian activists on board the aid ship were killed during the raid and a 10th died in 2014 after years in a coma.

Laden, with around 6,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, the flotilla aimed to reach the shores of Palestine.

The raid touched off a diplomatic crisis between Türkiye and Israel. Turkish-Israeli relations have historically been rocky due to disputes over the Palestinian cause. The pair was in the process of normalizing their relations when a new round of conflict broke out. Ankara shelved normalization plans and vowed to pursue the rights of Palestinians after Oct. 7.

Flouting the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) provisional ruling, Israel continues its onslaught on the Gaza Strip, where at least 33,175 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children, and 75,886 injured since Oct. 7, 2023, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since the October cross-border attack by Hamas, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Hostilities have continued unabated, however, and aid deliveries remain woefully insufficient to address the humanitarian catastrophe.

Over the past six months of ongoing attacks, Türkiye has consistently criticized Israel and has been sending aid to Gaza through Egypt.

Aid agencies report that only a fraction of the necessary supplies are reaching Gaza as Israel continues its air and ground offensive, causing severe damage to the region and pushing parts of it toward famine. They emphasize that air drops or direct sea deliveries to Gaza’s beaches cannot adequately replace increased supplies arriving by land through Israel or Egypt.

Israel maintains that it does not restrict humanitarian aid entering Gaza and attributes challenges in its distribution within the enclave to inefficiencies in U.N. agencies. However, aid groups argue that Israel’s blockade and bureaucratic hurdles are significant obstacles.

The IHH chairperson said the Anadolu vessel would carry humanitarian aid supplies while Vicdan would carry activists and media professionals from around the world, including Dr. Aleida Guevara, the daughter of Cuban leader Che Guevara and Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela.

“No one must remain silent in the face of the ongoing genocide in Gaza,” Yıldırım stressed. “We must save Gaza and the world from this cruelty and these wars.”

The Freedom Flotilla will call for a cease-fire in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and urge people worldwide to take to the city squares, Yıldırım said.

“Similarly, we will push the gates of Egypt and authorities to reach the port of Gaza,” he added. “We will do whatever we can to stop this genocide.”

He assured the flotilla would include “people of different religions and faiths.”

“But we especially want press members to join our fleet and announce our struggle for freedom to the whole world.”

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