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Ships from Turkey with humanitarian aid for Gaza denied right to sail, flags removed

Ships intended to sail from Turkey to Gaza with humanitarian aid have been denied the right to sail, according to the Associated Press.

“On Thursday afternoon, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition was contacted by the Guinea Bissau International Ship Registry (GBISR), requesting an inspection of our main vessel, the Akdenez,” the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, the group behind ships, in a press release. .

“This was a very unusual request as our vessel had already passed all required inspections; nevertheless, we accepted,” the statement continued. “The inspector arrived Thursday evening. On Friday afternoon, before the end of the inspection, the GBISR, in an overtly political gesture, informed the Freedom Flotilla Coalition that it had removed the Guinea-Bissau flag from two of the Freedom Flotilla’s vessels. Freedom, including our cargo ship, already loaded with more than 5,000 tons of vital aid for the Palestinians in Gaza.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition also said in the statement that “without a flag we cannot sail” and accused Guinea-Bissau of being “complicit in Israel’s deliberate starvation, illegal siege and genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Last week, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) confirmed to The Hill that it would work with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea.

“This is a complex operation that requires coordination among many partners, and our conversations continue. Across Gaza, the safety and security of humanitarian actors is essential to the delivery of aid, and we continue to advocate for measures that will give humanitarians greater assurances,” said a spokesperson for the USAID in a press release.

U.S. and WFP officials are working on how they can provide aid to Palestinian civilians “in an independent, neutral and impartial manner,” they added.

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