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Activists to Again Defy Blockade to Bring Gaza Aid


An activist group says it will defy Israel's blockade of the Gaza strip for a second time to deliver aid to Palestinians.

U.S.-based "Free Gaza" organizer Greta Berlin said Tuesday a group of about 20 activists will sail Wednesday from Cyprus to Gaza.

Berlin says the group includes Nobel peace prize winner Mairead McGuire of Ireland and at least three doctors.

She says the group will deliver medicine to Palestinians.

"Free Gaza" first defied Israel's blockade of Gaza in August when a group of 44 activists sailed with aid supplies to the coastal territory.

The activists were the first foreigners to enter the territory by sea since Hamas seized power in June 2007 and Israel tightened its travel restrictions.

Israeli officials allowed the boats in August to reach Gaza and sail back to Cyprus in order to avoid public confrontation.

The Israeli government has not said if it will allow the group to reach Gaza again this week.

"Free Gaza" organizers say the goal of their campaign is to bring attention to the plight of an estimated 1.5 million Palestinians living in poverty in the Gaza Strip.

A cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas reached in June requires Israeli authorities to gradually allow more goods into Gaza if militants there stop attacking Israel.

Israel imposed sanctions on the territory to pressure Hamas to crack down on rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.


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