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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Cairo against Iran aid delivery to Gaza

Cairo has officially refused to give an Iranian relief ship permission to unload Gaza-bound humanitarian aid at an Egyptian seaport.

After weeks of stalling the Iranian aid ship Shahed some 25 km (15 miles) off the coast of Gaza, the Egyptian government expressed opposition to the emergency delivery through the Al-Areesh port, an informed source said Wednesday.

The move dealt a blow to efforts by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) aimed at channeling desperately-needed aid to Gazans, added the source who requested anonymity.

"The Immoral opposition of Egypt to aid transits is clearly a sign of cooperation with Israel and its policy of choking off humanitarian deliveries to Gazans," he added.

Following the Israeli onslaught in Gaza, the Islamic Republic loaded a ship with 2,000 tons of medical and food supplies to help allay the humanitarian crisis brought about by the intense fighting.

The vessel, however, was intercepted by Israeli naval forces on January 14 and consequently opted to deliver the cargo through Egypt, the only state that shares a border with the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian authorities issued permits for the aid's dispatch via the Al-Areesh port - some 50km (30 miles) off the coastal strip - but later backtracked on their promises.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV on Tuesday, the chief of operations of the Iranian Red Crescent, Morteza Shadbakht, said that the Iranian relief society was working hard to secure the delivery. More

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