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Iran sending aid ships to Gaza, Iranian agencies say

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Iranian news agencies say one ship left Saturday for Gaza
  • Two other ships set to leave next week also for Gaza, agencies say
  • Iran describes vessels as carrying humanitarian aid
  • Nine people died on May 31 when a Turkish ship bound for Gaza was boarded by Israeli troops

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- An Iranian ship carrying aid supplies has set sail for Gaza and two others are expected to leave next week, two of Iran's semi-official news agencies reported on Monday.

Iran's Mehr news agency said that an Iranian ship carrying humanitarian aid left the port of Khorramshahr on Saturday, heading towards Gaza.

"This ship will pass through territorial waters of Oman, Yemen and Egypt before it reaches Gaza. It is said that the ship contains only humanitarian aid and there are no peace activists on board, " the agency stated.

Iran's Fars news agency also reported that top Iranian officials will allow two other ships to leave, but its navy will not escort them.

"Maj. Gen. Salami, deputy commander IRGC (Islamic Revolution Guard Corps), discussing the humanitarian aid ships to Gaza, said that protecting these ships is not on the agenda of the IRGC," Fars said.

The name of one of the ships is "Toward Gaza," Mohammad Ali Noorani, the deputy head of Iran's Society for the Defense of Palestine said at a news conference.

He said that vessel will leave from the port city of Bandar Abbas.

A Turkish flotilla of ships trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza was stopped by Israeli naval vessels on May 31 and nine people on one of the ships were killed when the Israeli military boarded it and gunfire broke out. Israel says its troops were attacked with knives, metal poles and other objects.

 
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