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Freedom flotilla ship, MV Rachel Corrie

New Irish ship to join Gaza flotilla

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Freedom flotilla ship, MV Rachel Corrie

A new committee has been set up to raise funds for a second Irish vessel to sail in a second flotilla to Gaza.

Nine died in the last attempt to reach the Gaza Strip by sea when Israeli Commandos stormed a Turkish boat involved in the attempt to carry aid into the coastal territory.

"The [new] committee brings together a wide range of organizations which are determined to work together to ensure there is a large Irish component in the Second Freedom Flotilla,” said one of the new flotilla’s main organizers.

"We believe that a breach of the sea blockade by the planned flotilla will fatally undermine Israel's illegal siege of Gaza -- the ships will be bringing aid, but the primary purpose is to break the siege," he said.

Israel has eased its restrictions of what aid can pass into the Hamas-controlled Strip since the last flotilla attempt, and has agreed to a UN-led inquiry into its actions earlier this year which provoked international outrage.

A spate of Palestinian rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into Southern Israel in recent days has renewed concerns that an escalation of violence in the region is imminent.

The Israeli Air Force recently targeted sites in the tiny coastal strip as part of its reaction to the rocket-fire.

"The attack is in response to the rockets and mortar shells that were fired at Israel and hit the southern Negev communities during the past weekend," said a spokesperson for the Air Force.

A Turkish passenger ship at the center of the violence during a deadly Israeli navy raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla was towed out of a port in Israel last Thursday.

Legal moves are apparently underway to have the Irish vessel - The Rachel Corrie - released from the Southern Israeli port of Ashdod.

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