Iran is sending aid ships to blockaded Gaza, state radio said on Monday -- a move likely to be considered provocative by Israel which accuses Tehran of arming the Palestinian enclave's Islamist rulers, Hamas.

One ship left port on Sunday and another will depart by Friday, loaded with food, construction material and toys, the report said. The boats would be part of international efforts to break Israel's isolation of the Gaza Strip.

"Until the end of the Gaza blockade, Iran will continue to ship aid," said an official at Iran's Society for the Defence of the Palestinian Nation.

While Israel has long suspected Iran, which rejects the Jewish state's right to exist, of supplying weapons to Hamas, Tehran says it only provides moral support to the group.

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