One of the organizers of an Iranian aid flotilla that was to said to Gaza in efforts to break Israel's naval blockade on the territory, announced Thursday that the event has been cancelled due to "Israeli threats."
A separate Iranian ship carrying 60 Iranian activists was being prepared to sail to Gaza, according to Army Radio. This after the Lebanese media reported several days ago that Egypt has denied Israel's request to prevent Iranian ships from passing through the Suez Canal toward Egypt.
Meanwhile Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement calling the aid flotillas to Gaza irresponsible.
"Mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so," the U.S. State Department said regarding Lebanese plans to ship aid to Gaza. "Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances."
The Lebanese and Iranian efforts come after a tragic incident aboard a Turkish aid ship, part of an eight-ship Turkish flotilla, which was headed for Gaza on May 31. Israeli navy commandos, intent on preventing the ship from reaching Gaza's shore, boarded the ship, and were met by a violent mob wielding sticks and knives. The clash that ensued resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.