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Boat Carrying Jewish Activists Leaves Cyprus for Gaza

Lillian Rosengarten, 75, of the U.S, one of 9 Jewish activists before setting sail from Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus in a bid to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza, 26 Sep 2010

A boat carrying Jewish activists from Israel, Europe and the United States has set sail for Gaza from Cyprus in a bid to breach Israel's blockade and deliver aid.

The British-flagged catamaran Irene left from northern Cyprus Sunday carrying nine passengers and crew members.

The British group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, organized the voyage. The group says it plans to deliver medical equipment, children's toys and other supplies to Gaza.

Group spokesman Richard Kuper said the boat's voyage is a "symbolic" act of protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the siege of Gaza - adding that, in his words, "Israeli government policies are not supported by all Jews."

In May, Israel drew international condemnation after nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed when Israeli commandoes boarded a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Reuters news agency says that without interruptions, it would take the catamaran now on its way to Gaza about 24 hours to reach the territory.

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