Derry men on ‘freedom flotilla’ to Gaza

Two Derry men are travelling to Gaza this week as part of the ‘freedom flotilla’ to bring aid to Palestinians.

Sinn Féin councillor Gerry MacLochlainn and well-known Derry communnity worker Charlie McMenamin and 24 other Irish people are hoping to reach Gaza on one of the aid ships to bring medical supplies to Palestinians, who have been unable to import certain goods because of an Israeli blockade.

In May last year a similar convoy tried to reach Gaza with humanitarian supplies and a number of ships were boarded by commandos from the Israeli Defence Force who opened fire, killing nine peace activists onboard the Mavi Marmara ship.

Before leaving Derry, Mr McMenamin said he wanted to raise awareness of the situation in Gaza. “We are determined to bring world attention to the plight of the Palestinian people whose lives have come to a standstill because of the Israeli blockade of Gaza,” he said.

A number of fundraising events, including a skydive, were held in Derry in recent months to raise funds to buy supplies to take to the troubled middle eastern company. The fundraising events were organised by the Derry Friends of Palestine group, who have also been making links between local schoolchildren and children in Palentinian schools.

Colr MacLochlainn attempted to bring aid to Gaza last year in an ambulance but was refused entry.