Gaza aid flotilla halted after vessels flag removed, activists say

Gaza aid flotilla halted after vessels flag removed, activists say

A humanitarian aid flotilla destined for Gaza was halted after Guinea Bissau decided to remove its flag from two vessels, activist group Freedom Flotilla Coalition said on Saturday.

“The Guinea-Bissau International Ships Registry (GBISR), in a blatantly political move, informed the Freedom Flotilla Coalition that it had withdrawn the Guinea Bissau flag from two of the Freedom Flotilla’s ships, one of which is our cargo ship,” the activists said.

The three-strong flotilla had been due to sail on Friday from ports in Turkey with more than 5,000 tonnes of aid on board, the activists said, and described the inspection and request by Guinea Bissau authorities as unusual and political.

GBISR was not immediately available for comment.

The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) is the primary organizer of the civilian Freedom Flotilla Coalition, which is comprised of human rights activists, including lawyers, doctors and nurses who came together to deliver aid directly to Gaza.

Israel has killed at least 34,305 Palestinians in its assault on Gaza, health authorities in the enclave said on Thursday. Israel is retaliating against an October 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 people and led to 253 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

On Friday, United Nations experts demanded the safe passage of the flotilla and called on Israel to adhere to international law and orders of the International Court of Justice to allow unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.

“Without a flag, we cannot sail. But, this is not the end. Israel cannot and will not crush our resolve to break its illegal siege and reach the people of Gaza,” the activists said. [Reuters]

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