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A coalition of left-wing groups are planning on trying to reach the port of Gaza next month with eight ships containing goods and 600 passengers, including journalists, an umbrella association of the groups said.

The flagship, which is to depart from the port of Dundalk, Ireland, is an old Lithuanian ship that has recently been refitted by volunteers from Dundalk and is to be named the Rachel Corrie.

Corrie, a 23-year-old human rights activist, was killed in 2003 by an Israel Defense Forces bulldozer while attempting to block the demolition of a house in Rafah.

The ship was purchased at auction for 70,000 euros by an organization called the Free Gaza Movement.

The organizers say the ship will be loaded with cement, paper, writing implements and medical equipment, which the IDF has prevented from reaching the Strip since the siege was imposed after the Hamas takeover in 2007.

Donated equipment is now coming in from Turkey, Norway, Britain and Ireland.

A coalition spokesman said that while Israel would probably try to stop the ship, out of eight ships that have tried to enter the Gaza port, five have been allowed in, which he said was encouraging.