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Hamas Calls for Flotilla Despite Setbacks

Hamas is urging the organizers of this year's Gaza flotilla to sail full steam ahead despite recent setbacks.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 6/23/2011, 6:29 PM / Last Update: 6/23/2011, 8:46 PM

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Hamas on Thursday urged organizers of the Freedom Flotilla II to sail full steam ahead with plans to sail to Gaza and break Israel's blockade "despite threats," the PA sponsored Maan News Agency reported.

The terror organization and reluctant political faction called for the proposed flotilla of 10 international ships to come despite recent criticism of the endeavor, saying it considered the flotilla to be "acting within the law in their attempt to break a siege."

Israeli officials maintain the blockade on Hamas-run Gaza, from which Hamas and other terror groups have launched some 12,000 rockets and mortar shells at communities in southern Israel since 2001, is necessary to impede the flow of arms that will be used against its citizens.

"Israel never keeps its promises regarding the lifting or easing of the blockade on Gaza," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

Israel on Tuesday gave its approval for a building project in Gaza involving the construction of 1,200 new homes and 18 new schools.

Last year, a similar flotilla that attempt to break Israel's blockade on Gaza was boarded by members of the Shayatet-13, Israel's naval commando, in accordance with international law. Self-described ‘peace activists’ aboard the Mavi Marmara attempted to lynch the commandos.

Nine members of the lynch-mob were killed when the commandos were forced to open fire to save their imperiled comrades.

Hamas' statement comes as Turkey denied the necessary permits for the flotilla's symbolic flagship, the Mavi Marmara, to set sail, and the United States government warns its citizens not to take part.