Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday 25 May 2010

he Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara is one of the eight boats expected to set sail for Gaza in the next few days. Photograph: Reuters

Israelis promise to stop eight ships carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid, 800 activists and politicians from more than 40 countries

A flotilla of eight boats carrying thousands of tonnes of construction materials, medical equipment and other aid is preparing to sail to Gaza in the next few days, setting the scene for a confrontation with Israel which has vowed to prevent the ships breaking the blockade on the Palestinian territory.

Three cargo ships and five passenger vessels plan to meet up in international waters between Cyprus and Gaza Strip before heading towards Gaza City. The Israeli military is expected to stop the flotilla and divert it to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

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