The 200 vehicles along the IHH-led Freedom to Palestine Convoy were shipped from Syrian port of Latakia to Egyptian port of Arish. The ship is expected to arrive at Arish port at night the following day. The 380 participants of the convoy will be flying to Egypt.
After completion of due procedures regarding the plane, the activists will fly to Arish on 4 January. They will then travel to Rafah border crossing in their vehicles. They might stay for 24 or 48 hours in Gaza depending on the permit to be granted by Egypt.
The convoy composed of 400 activists from 43 countries had to spend five days in Aqaba city of Jordan due to Egyptian refusal to let it enter the country via Red Sea. Therefore, it had to go back to Syria and from there enter Egypt through the Mediterranean, which would cost the convoy a week.
Turkish and Syrian diplomats held long, persuasive talks with their Egyptian counterparts to resolve the crisis over the route of the convoy. Finally, the Egyptian government agreed to let the convoy enter the country through Arish port.
The convoy that departed from Istanbul on 16 December to reach Gaza spent 18 days travelling and is now waiting at the Latakia Scout Camp.
Businessman finances shipment of convoy
A benevolent businessman from a Gulf country financed the expenses of transferring the convoy vehicles to Egypt with Ulusoy 6 ship and the activists by planes, IHH president said.
Yıldırım said he would rather not reveal the identity of the businessman and added “This issue goes beyond all political parties and ideologies and unites everyone around the same point.”
Meanwhile, the ship carrying the convoy vehicles was harassed by Israeli military boats though it was sailing 40 km off coast. The crew called Yıldırım and informed him about the incident.