Third Gaza Freedom Flotilla, organized by Freedom Flotilla Coalition, has left Greece's Crete Island on Saturday, with the former Tunisian president Moncef al-Marzouki onboard. The flotilla aims to remove Israel's tight blockade against the Palestinian territory of Gaza, applied since 2007.
The third flotilla consists of two fishing boats and three yachts, and carries 48 people, which includes activists, academicians, politicians and journalists. An Anadolu Agency reporter also sails with the flotilla.
Israeli deputy Dr. Basel Ghattas is also onboard. Zohar Chamberlain Regev, Freedom Flotilla Coalition's Israeli member of Organization Committee, told Anadolu Agency reporter that he does not want to be silent on human rights violations as a human being and a Jew.
The boat named "Marianne," which sailed from Sweden's Göteborg on May 11 and carries al-Marzouki, acts as the flagship of the flotilla.
The flotilla will directly sail from Crete to Gaza on international waters.
The group aims to donate two fishing boats to people of Gaza if they can reach there.
The preparations were kept secret as Greek authorities may not allow the flotilla to leave due to the Israeli pressure.
The first flotilla reached Gaza from land in 2009. The second flotilla, organized by international Free Gaza Movement and Turkish NGO Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) and known as Gaza Freedom Flotilla, was raided by Israeli forces in international waters. Ten were killed and 55 were wounded in the attack on flotilla's main ship Mavi Marmara.
Freedom Flotilla Coalition consists of various NGO's such as "European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza," "Freedom Flotilla Italia," "Gaza's Ark," "International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza," "Rumbo a Gaza," "Ship to Gaza-Greece," "Ship to Gaza-Norway," "Ship to Gaza-Sweden" and IHH.
Israel had earlier warned that they will not allow the flotilla to arrive into Gaza and activists will be deported back to their countries.