Hamas Blocking Entry of Flotilla Aid Into Gaza

Islamist groups says Israel must free all activists and agree to deliver the cargo in full before it will allow in any of the aid.

Hamas will not allow goods from an aid flotilla raided by Israel to enter the blockaded Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Islamist organization said Thursday.

Ahmed al-Kurd, Social Welfare Minister in the Hamas government which rules Gaza, said Hamas would block the aid cargo until Israel met all of the group's conditions.

Israel must release all of the activists detained after Israel's interception of the Gaza-bound convoy and transfer all, not just part, of the seized cargo, Kurd said.

He added that since the convoy was organized in Turkey, it was up to Ankara to decide whether to allow the goods to enter the Strip.

Israel said on Wednesday that it had released activists who traveled aboard the six-ship flotilla seized by Israeli commandos before dawn on Monday. Several wounded in the raid, in which nine were killed, are still in hospital, however, while another three - an Irishman, an Australian woman and an Italian man - remain in Israeli custody.

An Israeli spokesman said eight trucks packed with goods taken from the flotilla are stuck at the Kerem Shalom crossing point, waiting to enter the Strip.

He denied Kurd's claim that Israel has confiscated goods, saying Israel had not yet finished  unloading  containers from the flotilla.

Before the Israel Navy raid on Monday, Israel had vowed to transfer the flotilla's aid cargo of to Gaza if the boats abandoned the attempt to reach Hamas-controlled territory and docked at the Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection.

When activists rejected the offer, Israel intercepted the convoy in international waters some 60 miles offshore.

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