IHH Confirms New Gaza Flotilla
The Turkish group IHH said on Monday it would send a new flotilla of ships to “break Israel's siege of Gaza”, four years after the deadly storming of its vessel by Israeli commandos, according to AFP.
IHH, which organized the first flotilla, said in a statement quoted by the news agency that activists from 12 countries had met in Istanbul and taken the decision to send the ships "in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza."
"As most governments are complicit, the responsibility falls on civil society to challenge the Israeli blockade on Gaza," it said.
The IHH would hold a press conference on Tuesday, it added. The group is considered to be close to the Turkish government.
Monday’s statement comes several weeks after the head of the IHH announced that his organization is planning a new flotilla and has embarked on legal procedures and paperwork required to obtain a permit for the trip.
In the 2010 flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza," defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port. After it ignored repeated warnings to change course, the IDF boarded the vessel - only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board.
The soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of nine of the IHH members on board.
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid - in fact, no aid supplies at all - whatsoever.
That incident caused a breakdown in Israel’s relations with Turkey, as Turkey demanded an apology and compensation from Israel, which refused.