Libyan boat stays on course for Gaza: Organisers

A Libyan aid ship stayed on course for the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday despite Israeli warnings.

Updated: Jul 11, 2010, 19:01 PM IST

Tripoli: A Libyan aid ship stayed on
course for the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday despite Israeli
warnings that it will be intercepted at sea, said an organiser
on board the boat.

"We are heading for Gaza. We will not change
direction," Mashallah Zwei, a representative of the Kadhafi
Foundation, a Libyan charity, said to a news agency by satellite phone.

Zwei insisted the foundation was not seeking "a
confrontation or a provocation," when asked about the risks of
a repeat of an Israeli naval raid on an aid flotilla on May 31
that killed nine Turks.

"For the time being our only thought is delivering the
aid to Gaza," he said. "We are supported by the international
community, who, we hope, will help us reach our goal."

Zwei said the boat was currently "close to Crete" and
would likely reach Gaza in about two days.

Israel earlier today vowed to prevent the Libyan ship
from running its blockade of the Palestinian territory.

"Israel will not let the boat reach Gaza," minister
without portfolio Yossi Peled told Israel`s public radio a day
after the 92-metre freighter set sail from the Greek port of
Lavrio, south of Athens.

Allowing boats to reach Hamas-run Gaza without being
checked would have "very serious consequences" for Israel`s
security, he said.

Israel`s Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the attempt
to reach Gaza, which has been subjected to an Israeli naval
blockade for the past four years, was an "unnecessary
provocation."

The ship`s agent and the Greek foreign ministry had on
Saturday assured Israel that the Moldova-flagged vessel,
chartered by the charity run by the son of Libyan leader
Moamer Kadhafi, Seif al-Islam, was heading for the Egyptian
port of El-Arish.

PTI