Arab activists buy $800,000 boat for Gaza flotilla
AMMAN- Arab activists have purchased a boat to join a Gaza-bound aid flotilla aimed at breaking Israel's five-year blockade on the Palestinian territory, a leading Jordanian unionist said on Wednesday.
"Arab contributors have bought in Greece a 560,000-euro ($805,000) boat that can take up to 200 passengers to join the aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip," Wael Saqqa, former head of the Jordan engineers' union, said.
"The boat has been registered under the name of Nur company, established for the purpose of purchasing the boat," said Saqqa, adding 35 Jordanian activists would join the flotilla.
The vessel was expected to set sail for Gaza on Thursday, along with other ships.
"But it might be delayed because there is a general strike in Greek ports," Saqqa said, adding the boat would carry medical aid and construction material.
Israel has repeatedly said it is determined to stop the 10-boat flotilla -- recalling a similar attempt to reach Gaza in May last year that ended in violence when Israeli troops stormed the lead vessel, killing nine Turks.
Nearly 300 pro-Palestinian activists from 22 countries including Canada, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Spain are set to join the flotilla, among them a good number of middle-aged as well as elderly Americans and Europeans.
They are to be joined by 35 journalists from around the world, according to organisers.