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Humanitarian aid from flotilla arrives in Gaza

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • U.N.: First truckloads of aid brought by May flotilla arrives in Gaza
  • More cargo will be delivered in coming weeks
  • Deadly confrontation at sea sparked reaction around the world
  • Israel says it has eased Gaza blockade in wake of confrontation

(CNN) -- Humanitarian relief supplies carried by a flotilla of aid ships are finally arriving in Gaza, two months after a deadly confrontation at sea sparked an international response.

United Nations officials told CNN Thursday that the first truckloads of aid have entered Gaza. The rest of the cargo should be delivered in the weeks ahead.

The supplies are part of the cargo carried by the the flotilla, which sailed for Gaza in May. The six vessels in the convoy were stopped by Israeli commandos on May 31. Nine activists were killed after violence erupted on one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara.

Israel said its troops were attacked with knives, metal poles and other objects. But passengers on board the boat insist they were fired upon without provocation.

The incident triggered a wave of international condemnation of Israel and it's policies toward Gaza. It has also strained relations between Israel and Turkey, once Israel's strongest ally among Muslim countries.

Israel imposed the blockade after Hamas took over Gaza three years ago. Israeli authorities say the blockade is in place to stop weapons from reaching militants in Gaza who want to attack Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently announced an easing of the Gaza blockade. The changes include expanding operations at the existing land crossings, as well as streamlining the authorization process for international aid

groups the Israeli government recognizes. The naval blockade remains in place.

Palestinian officials say the steps are an improvement but still insist that the blockade should be completely lifted.