Iranian aid ships are due to set sail to Gaza by the end of the week, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

 

The Iranian Red Crescent decided to send the vessels, which will carry food, medications, and medical equipment, following a meeting with the foreign ministry,

 

“One ship will carry donations made by the people and the other will carry relief workers. The ships will be sent to Gaza by end of this week,” Iranian Red Crescent director Abdolrauf Adibzadeh told the IRNA news agency.

 

On Sunday, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards are ready to provide a military escort to cargo ships trying to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

 

"Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities," Ali Shirazi, Khamenei's representative inside the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Israel Navy commandos last Monday killed nine activists in clashes on board the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara in a convoy trying to deliver aid to Gaza. The incident sparked international outrage, especially in Muslim countries and in Turkey, which threatened to cut its long-standing ties with Israel.

 

Israeli troops boarded another ship on Saturday and pro-Palestinian activists have promised more as they challenge the blockade imposed four years ago with the stated aim of stopping arms getting to Hamas.