Volunteers on aid flotilla heading home

The mission of the aid flotilla led by Turkey to highlight the crushing Israeli siege around Gaza was winding up on Wednesday as volunteers embarked on a tortuous journey to get back home.

Anatolia news agency reported on Wednesday that Turkey had sent three ambulance planes and another three aircraft to Israel's Ben Gurion Airport to bring Turkish activists home.

More than 520 activists under detention lodged in an Israeli jail in Beersheva are expected to return to Turkey.

Those who have been seriously injured and have been kept in intensive care in Israeli hospitals are unlikely to be shifted immediately.

The Israeli government has also deported 100 pro-Palestinian activists seized from the Gaza aid flotilla to Jordan. The rest of the detenus are likely to be released within the next 48 hours.

Nevertheless, organisers of the Freedom Flotilla are set to send another aid ship Rachel Corrie to Gaza next week.

Monday's raid has continued to spin-off negative diplomatic momentum towards Israel.

Turkey has warned that it would sever diplomatic ties with Israel, unless its citizens who have been killed or wounded are returned by Wednesday night.

“We have clearly stated that we would review our ties with Israel if all Turks not released by the end of the day,” said Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister.

As relations sour, Israel is repatriating the families of its embassy staff in Ankara, Israeli public radio announced.

Stepping up its diplomatic activism, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has spoken over telephone on Tuesday with the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The impact of the Israeli raid has also been felt in Latin America as Nicaragua announced that it was suspending its diplomatic ties with Israel.

Egypt's decision to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza has come up for praise. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa said Cairo had taken “a logical step,” which is “correct and admirable.”

Egyptian officials said more than 100 Gazans have crossed the border into Egypt after the Rafah gates were re-opened.

Russia and Oman have donated four truckloads of tents, blankets along with 13 generators for Gaza residents which have passed through the Rafah crossing.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 3:15:11 PM |

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