Turkish Ship Unloads Aid to Gaza at Ashdod

20 months after the Mavi Marmara, Turkey sends assistance to Gaza without trying to break blockade.

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Gil Ronen,

The Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel
The Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Twenty months after the Mavi Marmara incident, a Turkish ship carrying medical aid for Gaza has arrived at Ashdod Port in Israel. Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reports that Turkish Deputy Premier Bekir Bozdag confirmed this news Saturday.

The ship will unload its cargo at Ashdod, and Israel will then transfer the supplies into Gaza.

Bozdag was quoted by Turkish daily, Zaman, as saying that "innocent civilians not only die by shelling but can be killed by the strict siege they are being held under, which prevents the entry of food, medicine and other basic needs."

He said Turkey had submitted a request to the Israeli Defense Ministry, to allow safe passage for the aid ship in October last year.

The ship reportedly carries aid worth $1.5 million.

Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara after it ignored repeated requests to change course toward Ashdod, and attempted to sail directly to Gaza. The commandos encountered fierce resistance from IHH activists who attacked them on board the ship and had to kill nine of them before they could take control of the vessel. Three of the soldiers have since been recognized as suffering disabilities.