Peace boats arrive in Gaza Strip despite Israeli blockade

Israel Materials 23 August 2008 20:31 (UTC +04:00)

Two boats carrying 46 pro-Palestinian peace activists arrived without incident in the Gaza Strip from Cyprus Saturday, despite warnings from the Israelis.

Thousands of Palestinians were on hand at the strip's fishing port to welcome the activists aboard the Free Gaza and the Liberty, both flying the Greek flag.

Dozens of Palestinian boats accompanied the two vessels, which had left Cyprus on Friday, into the port.

The small wooden boats were carrying international peace and human rights activists from the Free Gaza Movement, as well as medical supplies for children.

"The boats carry a humanitarian message against the harsh siege that has been imposed on Gaza for more than a year," said Jamal al- Khodary, an independent Palestinian parliamentarian leading a lobby against the Israeli blockade.

Israel, which controls the Strip's air, sea and borders, had threatened to prevent the boats from entering Gaza's territorial waters. It has blocked access to the Gaza Strip since the militant Hamas group took power in June last year, the dpa reported.