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Israeli Navy blocks aid vessel en route to Gaza

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An Israeli Navy cutter has blocked the route of the Al-Amal vessel carrying humanitarian aid from Libya to Gaza, a statement from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GICDF) said on Tuesday.

An Israeli Navy cutter has blocked the route of the Al-Amal vessel carrying humanitarian aid from Libya to Gaza, a statement from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GICDF) said on Tuesday.

"An Israeli Navy cutter is obstructing the Al-Amal on its way to Gaza ... The captain of the vessel has turned the ship round and is sailing to the Egyptian port of El Arish," the statement said.

A spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces said the vessel is not heading for El Arish.

"We have begun the process of indentifying the vessel and started negotiations to prevent it sailing to Gaza," she said.

The 92-metre Moldova-flagged Al-Amal ("Hope" in Arabic) cargo ship left the Greek port of Lavrio on Saturday to sail for Gaza, despite Israeli warnings that it should not approach Palestinian territory.

The aid ship is sponsored by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GICDF), headed by the son of the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. The vessel is carrying around 2,000 tons of aid and many activists.

On May 31, the Israeli military stormed the Freedom Flotilla carrying some 10,000 tons of aid to Gaza Strip and up to 700 human rights activists in neutral waters in the Mediterranean Sea.

The operation claimed the lives of at least nine activists of the Turkish Mavi Marmara. Arab media reports put the death toll at close to 20.

DUBAI, July 13 (RIA Novosti) 

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