Israel denies blocking Iranian humanitarian ship

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Israel denied that it prevented an Iranian ship carrying humanitarian supplies from reaching the Gaza Strip.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said the Navy did not engage in any contact with the Iranian vessel on Tuesday, Ynet reported.

Iran Red Crescent director Ahmed Musawi told the Iranian news agency Maher on Tuesday that "the Zionist regime’s Navy" had blocked the ship, claiming that it was stopped 20 miles away from Gaza. A naval blockade, according to international conventions, can only be imposed 12 miles from the coast.

The Iranian ship, according to Musawi, left about 13 days ago and is carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian supplies.

Meanwhile, on Monday a boat owned by the Free Gaza Movement filled with humanitarian supplies and representatives of several news services, including CNN and the BBC, was forced to turn back three hours after setting sail from Greece due to mechanical problems. It was the second time the organization has tried to send a vessel since the Gaza operation began.

In December, a Free Gaza vessel collided with an Israeli naval vessel. Several other Free Gaza missions were allowed to dock in Gaza port in the past few months.

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