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Hamas calls for protection for Gaza flotilla

Hamas calls for protection for Gaza flotilla
25-06-2011,09:41

Al Qassam website - Hamas demanded that the international community provide protection for an activist flotilla that will try to reach the besieged Gaza Strip next week.

Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers, Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyah said residents of the Palestinian enclave were eagerly awaiting the flotilla, despite Israel’s vow to prevent it breaching the naval blockade.

"Those activists have every right to reach the Gaza Strip,” said Haniyah.

"We denounce any Israeli threats and demand that the United Nations and all human rights groups provide this flotilla with legal protection and stand against any Israeli attempts to stop it from coming.”

On Thursday, Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor said his country was “determined” to prevent the flotilla from reaching the Islamist-ruled Gaza, calling the attempt a “provocation.”

About 10 boats are set to take part in the flotilla that follows one in 2010 which Israeli commandos halted on May 31, killing nine Turkish activists. “No doubt the occupation is preparing for a crime similar to the first, but this time it should not go without punishment,” Haniyah said. “This time the flotilla must come to Gaza and we are ready to receive it.” AFP

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