Aid workers to join Gaza flotilla

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The Independent Online

More than 30 British aid workers will join a flotilla heading towards Gaza in June, it has been announced.

Just over a year after a similar aid flotilla was raided by Israeli forces, leaving nine people dead on a Turkish boat, aid workers from around Europe will attempt to get through Israel's sea blockade.

Activists plan to congregate on Tuesday in London to remember the aid workers killed and to raise the profile of the new mission.

One of the event organisers, Ismail Patel, chairman of Friends of Al Aqsa, was on board the Mavi Marmara ship on which all nine aid workers died.

He said: "It is important that we do not forget the nine martyrs who were killed by Israeli commandos while trying to take aid to Gaza which has been under Israeli siege for six years.

"We must also draw attention to the desperate situation in Gaza, where basic food supplies are limited and reconstruction materials are banned.

"Despite Israel's scare tactics there will be 600 people from 40 countries on board the Freedom Flotilla II who will be representing millions of people around the word in opposing Israel's imprisonment of 1.6 million Gazans."

Eight Turks and one Turkish-American died in the raid last year and seven Israeli soldiers were wounded. Each side accused the other of starting the violence.

Israeli military officials have confirmed that preparations are under way to stop any new flotilla while avoiding casualties, and that they would use different tactics this time.