British activists on Irish aid ship still hope to break Gaza blockade

By staff writers
June 1, 2010

An Irish ship named after a civilian killed by Israeli troops, and with Scottish activists on board, intends to challenge the Gaza blockade in a few days.

The MV Rachel Corrie, part of the flotilla of aid ships which was attacked yesterday by Israel, was named after the US pro-Palestine campaigner killed by Israeli security forces in Gaza in 2003.

The Irish-registered vessel is still at sea and is planning to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza in several days, according to Carl Abernethy, a spokesperson for the Free Gaza group in Scotland, speaking to the Guardian newspaper's correspondent Severin Carrell this morning (1 June 2010).

Two Britons, Theresa McDermott, aged 43, from Edinburgh, and Alex Harrison, aged 32, from London are among those believed to have been on board the vessel - one of those which was not impounded by the Israelis following their assault, which resulted in nine confirmed deaths and many injuries, leading to international condemnation.

"The Rachel Corrie wasn't apprehended and they're still at sea; the intention remains still to get to Gaza over the next couple of days. They're going in the hope the Israelis won't want a repeat of what happened yesterday," Mr Abernethy said.

The vessel is carrying cement, wheelchairs and crutches, school supplies and sports equipment, some 18 tons of printing paper, photocopiers, 52 tons of medical supplies, dentistry equipment, shoes and clothing for schools, medical facilities and refugee camps on the Gaza strip.

At least one British citizen was injured in the Israeli military action against the aid flotilla. He has been hospitalised, according to the British embassy in Tel Aviv.

The man is not understood to be in a serious condition but has bruising and injuries requiring suturing. The embassy, which has has been allowed access to the activist, said it could not release any further identifying information at present.

An embassy spokeswoman, Karen Kaufman, said she believed the Briton had been on board the Marvi Marmara, the Turkish passenger ship on which at least 10 activists were killed in a off-shore battle with Israeli commandos yesterday.

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron and the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, have criticised the Israeli assault, which has also been officially condemned by a United Nations Security Council resolution.

Israel's ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, told BBC Radio 4 this morning that the storming of the aid flotilla had not been a success.

"It's obvious - and I won't beat around the bush on this - that this wasn't successful and I think it clearly took up an issue that should have been solved differently," he told the Today programme.


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