Gaza-bound convoy accepts Egypt's offer, heads to Mediterranean port

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AMMAN, Dec 28, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Having been stranded in Jordan for four days, Viva Palestina humanitarian convoy left the Jordanian port city of Aqaba on Monday and went back to Syria, from where it will head to Egypt.

The convoy was planning to enter the Egyptian territories last Thursday through the Nuweiba port on the Red Sea en route to Gaza. But the Egyptian authorities denied its entry from the Red Sea port, urging the convoy to enter Egypt through El Arish port on the Mediterranean Sea, an idea that was rejected by the convoy.

"We left Aqaba, heading back to Latakia in Syria from where we will take a ship after two days to El Arish port, Ali Abu Al Sukkar, member of the convoy's coordination committee, told Xinhua.

"We are not seeking confrontations with Egypt. We just want to enter Gaza and Egyptians promised that we all will enter Gaza provided that we enter through El Arish and this is what we will do," Abu Al Sukkar added.

On Sunday, dozens of the 450 American, British, Turkish and other nationals who are accompanying the convoy, staged a sit-in near the Egyptian consulate in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, protesting Egypt's refusal to allow the entry through the Nuweiba port.

The convoy, which includes over 200 cars and trucks laden with medical supplies and other human assistance and accompanied by over 450 activists from across the world, was scheduled to leave Aqaba last Thursday to Egypt to cross into the besieged Gaza Strip on December 27th.

The convoy started its trip on December 6th from London and has already crossed several European countries including France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy as well as Turkey, Syria and Jordan.