First cargo ship from Turkey with aid for Gazans docks in Israel

A cargo ship from Turkey with humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip docked Sunday in the southern Israeli port of Ashdod.

It was the first Turkish shipment of aid for the 1.9 million Palestinians in the impoverished enclave as part a reconciliation deal signed between Turkey and Israel last week.

"The ship is docking these very moments," a spokesman for the Ashdod Port, Yigal Ben Zikry, told dpa, adding it had 10,000 tons of medicine, food, toys and other items on board.

Relatives and supporters of two Israeli soldiers, who were killed in the 2014 Gaza war, protested outside the port.

The Islamist Hamas movement has kept the soldiers' remains. The families are furious with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for going ahead with the reconciliation deal and allowing the aid shipments, without first demanding that Hamas hand over their bodies.

Ties were ruptured in 2010 when Israeli naval commandos raided a pro-Palestinian flotilla as it headed to breach the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Ten Turkish nationals - one with joint US citizenship - died as a result of the raid on the ship, Mavi Marmara.

Under the deal secured after months of talks, Israel met Turkey's demand to compensate the families of Turkish casualties by contributing 20 million dollars to a victims' fund.

Ankara, in turn, will drop criminal charges against Israeli soldiers involved in the Mavi Marmara affair.

Turkey's main demand for the blockade of Gaza to be lifted was not fully met, but it will be allowed to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, via Ashdod, and build a hospital, power plant and a water-desalination facility in Gaza.

Last update: Sun, 03/07/2016 - 16:11
Author: 

More from Europe

Series of four earthquakes takes no lives, Italian PM Gentiloni says

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said no lives were lost after four powerful tremors shook central Italy on...

Boris Johnson compares French president to WWII prison guard

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Wednesday compared Francois Hollande to a World War II prison guard after...

Merkel pledges to hold Europe together after Brexit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged on Wednesday to hold the European Union together after Britain's planned...

Slovenia looks to capitalize on its connection to Melania Trump

As Donald Trump campaigned for the Oval Office, his Slovenian-born wife Melania did not receive much love and...

EC recommends Croatia's gradual integration into Schengen Information System

The European Commission on Wednesday made a recommendation to the Council of the European Union to gradually...