Turkish Ship Attacked by Israel Won’t Sail in Next Gaza Flotilla

The Mavi Marmara, the ship on which Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists who tried to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip last year, won’t sail in a second international flotilla to the Palestinian enclave, the organizers of the planned voyage said.

About 10 ships with representatives from 20 countries will head to Gaza in a renewed attempt to break Israel’s embargo by delivering aid, the group behind the effort, called Freedom Flotilla II, said today in an e-mailed statement.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation, the Turkish Islamic charity organization that is refitting the Mavi Marmara, will continue to be a part of the next flotilla, according to the statement. Technical problems will prevent the Turkish ship from joining the other vessels when they head for Gaza on June 25, the Associated Press cited the IHH as saying.

Israel, which says it needs to limit and monitor cargo going into Gaza to prevent weapons from entering, said its commandos were trying to stop last year’s flotilla and that those on board the Mavi Marmara attacked first. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, has called the new flotilla “an unnecessary provocation” and “a political stunt” to back the Islamic Hamas group that controls Gaza.

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