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Israeli Officials Say Aid Ship Will Sail to Egypt


Israel says it believes a Moldovan-flagged aid ship headed to the Gaza Strip in a bid to break the embargo of the territory will instead sail to Egypt.

Israeli news reports say Israeli officials met with counterparts from Moldova and Greece, and that it was agreed that the ship's captain would divert to the Egyptian port of El-Arish.

There was no immediate comment from either Greece or Moldova.

The aid voyage is sponsored by a charity headed by the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The ship, carrying 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies, was expected to sail from Greece Saturday.

Israel sparked international outrage in May, when its commandos intercepted a flotilla of aid ships in the Mediterranean Sea that were trying to break the Israeli blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed in the raid. Israel said its forces acted in self-defense.

Israel says its land and sea blockade of Gaza is intended to prevent Hamas militants and their supporters from smuggling weapons into the territory.

Israel also appealed to the United Nations Friday, urging the international community to use its influence to stop the Moldovan-flagged ship from sailing to Gaza.

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

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