NEWS

Gaza flotilla faces complications

The organizers of a flotilla intending to break Israel?s blockade of the Gaza Strip have said that strike action in Greece, and procedural complications, have seriously delayed the operation.

Three ships have set sail from other European ports and another seven were supposed to have already left Greece?s main port of Piraeus to meet them in international waters off Gaza, according to the organizers. Some of the vessels are still awaiting authorization from Greek authorities to leave, the campaigners said.

French and US activists rallied outside the US embassy in Athens on Friday to demand their aid flotilla be allowed to leave Piraeus. A group of around 100 demonstrators blocked traffic outside the embassy, waving peace flags and shouting slogans against French, Greek and US authorities who, they say, are bowing to pressure from Israel to block the mission.

Earlier this week, the organizers said they had increased security around their docked flotilla at Piraeus after what they alleged to be an act of sabotage on one of the vessels in the port of Piraeus. The organizers said that ?hostile divers? had cut the propeller shaft of one of the vessels called the Juliano. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told an Israeli radio station earlier this week that the activists were seeking ?confrontation and blood,? according to Reuters.