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FreeGaza Movement

Human rights group that sailed 5 times into port of Gaza.

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Gaza – Ma'an – The Free Gaza Movement's ship will arrive on the island of Cyprus on Tuesday evening, its last stop before its attempt at a siege-defying voyage to the coast of the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, Palestinian lawmaker Jamal Al-Khudari said.

Al-Khudari, the Gaza-based deputy head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege says that the ship, which is carrying a cargo of medical supplies, is now expected to arrive in Gaza on Thursday or Friday.

In an email message to supporters on Monday evening, the Free Gaza Movement said that it has been recognized as a humanitarian mission by the Israel government. The group forwarded an email from Noam Katz, a spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Katz's email, however warns the sailors that "the area to which you are planning to sail is the subject of an advisory notice that has been published by the Israeli Navy, which warns all foreign vessels to remain clear of the designated maritime zone off the coast of Gaza in light of the current security situation."

In spite of this, Free Gaza Movement spokeswoman Greta Berlin said, in Monday's press statement, "Since the Foreign Minister's office responded to our invitation to join us, and said that we have good intentions, we now fully expect to reach Gaza."

Forty people from 17 different countries, including Israelis, Palestinians, and one Holocaust survivor are aboard the ship.

Al-Khudari said that a plan is in place to welcome the ship with a gathering of banner-waving Palestinians.

In addition, twenty Palestinian boats boats will greet the ship at sea, Al-Khudari said.