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French protest boat leaves Greece for Gaza

Organizers expect the small boat carrying food and fuel to reach the Gaza Strip in two to three days.

Gaza flotilla protests optEnlarge
Israeli left-wing protests against the Greek authorities' decision to ban a Gaza-bound flotilla from setting sail, later broken up by right-wing activists outside the Greek embassy in Tel Aviv on July 2, 2011. However on July 4, 2011 a French vessel with eight pro-Palestinian activists on board left Greek waters Monday night for Gaza in the latest attempt to break Israel's blockade. (David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images)

A small French vessel with eight pro-Palestinian activists on board left Greek waters Monday night for Gaza in the latest attempt to break Israel's blockade.

Organizers said Tuesday that the "Dignite al Karama", a small pleasure craft, has food and fuel on board and expects to reach the Gaza Strip's coast in two or three days, AFP reports.

Spokesperson for the group A French Boat for Gaza, Jean-Claude Lefort, said it would appeal to the French government for support:

We are going to send a delegation to the French foreign ministry to ask for protection. Depending on how that goes, we will advise on our progress.

Asked how the boat had evaded Greek authorities, who have prevented other flotilla ships from leaving its waters, Lefort said simply that the boat was not docked at the port in Piraeus and was not spotted as it set sail.

Greek officials Monday blocked a Canadian vessel from sailing to Gaza and forced it to dock at Crete. Three of the activists on board, two Canadians and an Australian, were arrested, the AP reports Tuesday.

On Friday, Greece prevented several of the Gaza flotilla ships from leaving. Flotilla organizers said Sunday they hadn't abandoned their plans to breach Israel's sea blockade of Gaza. 

The Israeli navy has been directed to prevent any unauthorized ships approaching Gaza from reaching its shores. 

More Global Post coverage of the Gaza flotilla: Israel sees delays to Gaza flotilla as "positive development"

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/110705/french-boat-protesters-greece-gaza-israel