28 June 2010
In an interview with the British newspaper ‘The Independent’, senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar, 65, has warned that new ships would soon try to make their way to Gaza to break the Israeli sea blockade. Al-Zahar said that there would be more flotillas "than in your imagination." After the soccer World Cup in South Africa, at least eight ships would come from the Gulf," he said. When asked whether Iranian vessels will be involved al-Zahar responded, "Why not?"
Referring to the possibility that Egypt could prevent a flotilla chartered by the Iranian Red Crescent aid organization from passing through the Suez Canal, al-Zahar said; "They have the right in international law to go, as the Israelis go. Egypt will never be able to stop such a campaign." The newspaper quotes the Hamas co-founder and former Palestinian foreign minister addressing the possibility that Iran may sponsor new Gaza-bound vessels: "Where is your morality if Iran is going to give food and drugs? What justifies preventing that?"
Al-Zahar also accused the Israeli government of reneging on a prisoner swap agreement which he insisted could have led to the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. "Up to this moment, the Israeli intention is not to have an agreement," he claimed. The Hamas leader said those in Hamas’ military wing who hold Shalit were refusing to allow a visit by the Red Cross or another international humanitarian organization.
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