Turkish aid vessel arrives in Israeli port

Jul 04, 2016, 2:21 AM EDT
(Source: Glen/flickr)
(Source: Glen/flickr)

Four days after Turkey and Israel signed a historic agreement to normalize bilateral ties, a Turkish ship carrying 11,000 tons of humanitarian aid for residents of the Gaza Strip reached the Israeli port of Ashdod. The vessel Lady Leyla is the first aid ship Turkey has sent to Gaza since Israeli troops killed 10 Turkish activists on a Gaza-bound flotilla six years ago. As part of the recent deal, Israel agreed to allow Turkey to send aid to Gaza in addition to paying total compensation of $20m to the dead activists’ families.

An official said that the Israeli government has made special efforts to speed up the process of delivering aid supplies to Gaza before the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, writes The Guardian. The ship has been unloaded and the aid donations will be transported overland through Israel to Gaza.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2006 after one of its soldiers was abducted by the Palestinian group Hamas, which runs the territory, notes the BBC. Despite criticism from the United Nations, Israel has been defending the blockade, calling it necessary to stop the flow of materials that could be used for military activity by Hamas.