'Spirit of Humanity' Mercy Boat to Gaza Turns Back
Sad... Engine problems forced a boat carrying international peace activists and medical supplies to return to port shortly after leaving Cyprus Monday, the Athens News Agency said. 30 peace activists from the US 'Free Gaza' group, 15 doctors and European parliamentarians, had hoped to break through the Israeli blockade and enter Gaza carrying relief supplies. But the boat, whose passengers also included parliamentarians from Greece, Spain and Belgium, was forced to return to port after the captain discovered problems with one of its engines. Free Gaza spokeswoman, Karin Pally, told The Associated Press that a generator blew three hours into the 24-hour trip, forcing Greek-flagged vessel to return to port in Larnaca. The vessel carrying international peace activists and medical supplies for the embattled Gaza Strip had left Larnaca after a similar effort to deliver aid was thwarted by Israel last month.
Another boat carrying activists and medical supplies for the Gaza Strip was turned back and damaged by the Israeli navy on December 30. Israeli officials said an Israeli navy ship had intercepted the SS Dignity, claiming it had ignored an Israeli radio order to turn back as it approached Gaza.But passengers and crew aboard the SS Dignity disputed the Israeli account, saying the Israeli vessel rammed the ship while it was sailing in international waters.