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Swiss ship to join Gaza-bound flotilla

A ship with Swiss nationals aboard is scheduled to take part in an aid flotilla bound for Gaza next spring, a solidarity group announced on Monday.

Nathan Finkelstein, a spokesman with the Geneva-based Collectif Urgence Palestine, said about 45 people could be aboard the ship as part of a flotilla with vessels from 17 countries. It could set sail as early as February.

Exactly who might be on that ship is not yet clear, but the group said a third could be politicians, another third journalists, and the last third civilians. Finkelstein said the passenger list is underway and that there have been ten times as many requests to join the mission as there are places.

Israeli troops on May 31 forcefully stopped a six-ship Gaza-bound flotilla loaded with aid. Fighting erupted and nine Turks were killed, touching off harsh criticism and a diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey.

A spokeswoman at Israel's embassy in Bern said humanitarian goods are allowed into Gaza by land. The country says it maintains a sea blockade to prevent weapons being smuggled in.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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