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Asia aid ship waiting at sea for permission to dock in Egypt

Cairo - A ship carrying aid from Asia for the Gaza Strip has been stuck at sea for over two days waiting for permission to dock in Egypt, organizers of the relief effort said Monday.

Asia aid ship waiting at sea for permission to dock in Egypt
03 January 2011 - 20:27

Cairo - A ship carrying aid from Asia for the Gaza Strip has been stuck at sea for over two days waiting for permission to dock in Egypt, organizers of the relief effort said Monday.

'Egypt still didn't allow Asia2Gaza aid ship to dock. It's 50 hours that eight activists are in the ship and they are in a bad situation,' the group said on their Twitter page.

An Egyptian security source said the holdup was due to the refusal of the group to pay 30,000 dollars in berthing fees to the port of el-Arish where the vessel was heading.

The aid group said it could not drum up the sum.

Around 112 activists who were accompany the vessel entered Gaza via Egypt's Rafah border crossing after flying in from Damascus in the early hours on Monday.

But Egypt refused entry to seven Iranians members of parliament and 13 other activists and journalists from different nationalities who were part of the convoy.

The group entered without the aid, which was still on the ship.

The ship is carrying four ambulances, eight school buses, and food and medical supplies for people living in the Palestinian territory that is subject to an Israeli blockade and siege.

Members of the group wrote on Twitter that the eight activists still on the ship were 'not feeling well' and were 'under stress and seasick.'

The vessel began its journey in India as part of the 'Asia2Gaza Caravan' campaign.

Egypt's approval is required to reach the Gaza Strip through Rafah, particularly since Israel tightened its blockade after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

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