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Thursday, August 11, 2011 | Volume: 11220

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Gaza aid convoy heads for final stop

The first Asian humanitarian convoy, which aims to break the Israeli-imposed siege of the Gaza Strip, has departed for its final stop before the coastal sliver.

Laden with relief supplies, Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan of Asia 1 has left the Syrian capital of Damascus for the port city of Latakia in the northwest of the country.

The convoy, which currently has activists from 15 different nationalities onboard, began its journey from the Indian capital, New Delhi and traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Lebanon.

The activists say they want to display solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance against Israel.

Tel Aviv has been enforcing an all-out land, aerial and naval blockade on the 1.5 million Palestinians in the enclave since mid-June 2007.

The mission has been welcomed by Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas, as well as Ramadan Abdullah, the leader of the Palestinian group of Islamic Jihad. “We really appreciate your effort to keep this momentum and to follow up your work,” Abdullah said.

A seven-member delegation of Iranian lawmakers joined the mission while it was in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The convoy plans to enter Gaza later in December, which marks the anniversary of the launch of the three-week-long Israeli war on the enclave. The onslaught killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.

There are fears that the mission might be fiercely confronted by Israel's military, which killed nine Turkish activists aboard Freedom Flotilla, an Ankara-backed humanitarian convoy, on May 31.

In this regard, an Indian activist on the mission told Press TV, “We are completely non-violent. We do not have weapons.”

In case of an attack, “We will face it with non-violence. We'll face it with a prayer in our hearts,” he added.

(Source: Press TV)

Photo: Activists with the Asia 1 convoy, Iranian Somayeh Tabari (R) and Bahraini Abdel Jabbar Ibrahim Saleh, attend a press conference in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on December 23, 2010.

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