A British aid convoy led by George Galloway, the east London MP, that was carrying relief supplies for Gaza, was pelted with stones and vandalised in the Egyptian town El-Arish late on Sunday, an organiser said.
The convoy, which set out from London last month carrying relief supplies valued at £1 million ($1.4 million), was in El-Arish, a border staging post about 28 miles from the Rafah passage to Gaza.
“It’s an absolute disgrace,” said the organiser of the aid shipment, Yvonne Ridley. “The power was cut. During cover of darkness members of our convoy were attacked with stones.
“Vandals also wrote dirty words and anti-Hamas slogans,” she said. “Several people in the convoy were injured in the attack.”
A security official said that during a power cut, which is a frequent occurrence in the town, children had pelted the convoy with stones.
The convoy is expected to head to Rafah but its future movement is tied up in a dispute between organisers and Egyptian officials, who had welcomed the activists, over the inclusion of non-medical aid in the convoy.
Egyptian officials have said they would allow medical relief through the Rafah passage but non-medical goods such as food would have to pass through Israel’s crossings with the Palestinian enclave.
“George Galloway is still in negotiations,” Ridley said. “What we have agreed to do is to separate the medical aid from the non-medical aid. The non-medical will go into Gaza via the Egyptian Red Crescent.”
Ten Libyan trucks carrying medicine were allowed to transfer their aid to Gaza on Sunday, a border official said.
Egypt opened the Rafah crossing to aid and Palestinian wounded during Israel’s 22-day war in Gaza in December and January, which killed 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, but has since closed it to aid.
It is not the first time the shipment has attracted controversy. Three men arrested by counter-terrorism police last month were allegedly planning to leave Britain as part of the convoy to Gaza.
Aspokesman said police had not contacted the organisors in relation to the arrests.
by Our Foreign Staff
Last Updated: 6:16PM GMT 09 Mar 2009
Source: The Telegraph