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Jewish Activists, Defying Israeli Blockade, Sail For Gaza

A group of Jewish activists has set sail for the Gaza Strip carrying humanitarian aid in defiance of an Israeli blockade.

Nine activists from Israel, Britain, Germany, and the United States left a Cyprus port on the British-flagged "Irene" today for the 24-hour voyage to Gaza, where Israel maintains a naval blockade for what it says are antismuggling purposes.

Israel's Gaza activities have been closely monitored since Israeli troops killed nine Turkish activists on board aid ships trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31.

Andy David, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, today said if the activists wanted to deliver aid they could deliver it to Egyptian or Israeli ports for overland transit.

compiled from agency reports