Americans join flotilla to break Gaza blockade

AP News
Posted: Jun 20, 2011 1:03 PM
Americans join flotilla to break Gaza blockade

A group of Americans hopes to break Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip in the coming days when it joins a flotilla of ships sailing with aid to the Palestinian territory.

Nearly half of the 36 Americans who'll sail on the U.S. flagged boat "The Audacity of Hope" attended a Monday news conference announcing they're flying later in the day to Athens to prepare for the journey.

Activists describe Israeli restrictions on Gaza's 1.5 million residents as a human rights violation. But Israel says its blockade stops weapons from reaching Iran-backed Hamas militants.

Nine activists died in a botched Israeli commando operation on a Turkish ship during a similar flotilla last year. Each side accused the other of starting the violence.