Israel asks UN to stop Gaza-bound Libyan aid boat: media | world | Hindustan Times
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Israel asks UN to stop Gaza-bound Libyan aid boat: media

world Updated: Jul 10, 2010 15:05 IST

AFP
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Israel has asked the United Nations to prevent a Libyan aid ship from trying to breach its blockade of the Gaza Strip, media reported on Saturday.

Israel's ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev sent a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking that the international community intervene to prevent the ship approaching Gaza, the website of the Haaretz daily reported.

"Israel calls upon the international community to exert its influence on the government of Libya to demonstrate responsibility and prevent the ship from departing to the Gaza Strip," Haaretz quoted from the letter.

Shalev also warned in the letter that "Israel reserves the right under international law to prevent this ship from violating the existing naval blockade on the Gaza Strip." Israeli foreign ministry officials could not be reached on Saturday.

A charity headed by the son of Libyan leader Moamar Kadhafi said on Friday it was sending an aid boat from Greece to Gaza.

The Tripoli-based Kadhafi International Charity and Development Association said the cargo ship was "loaded with about 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid in the form of foodstuff and medications".

The ship will also carry "a number of supporters who are keen on expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people in the plight amidst the siege imposed on Gaza," the organisation added in a statement.

The vessel's agents said the Moldova-flagged cargo ship Amalthea was expected to set sail from Lavrio, some 60 kilometres southeast of Athens.

The 92-metre freighter has a 12-man crew and will carry up to nine passengers, a representative of Piraeus-based Alpha Shipping agents said. On May 31, Israeli special forces stormed a flotilla of six ships carrying aid for the blockaded Gaza Strip, killing nine Turks on board the Turkish passenger ferry Mavi Marmara.

Israel says its commandos only used force to defend themselves after being ambushed. Israel imposed the blockade in June 2006 after its soldier, Gilad Shalit, was captured by Gaza militants and tightened it a year later when Hamas seized power in the coastal strip.

In the wake of the May 31 incident, Israel has significantly eased the blockade, barring only arms and goods that could be used to create weapons or build fortifications, but it has maintained the naval blockade.