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Turkish Aid Sent to Gaza After Israel Deal Approved: Official

ANKARA (AFP) –  Turkish aid for the Gaza Strip has been sent from the country’s southern coast for the second time since relations were normalised between Israel and Ankara in June, a Turkish official said Saturday.

A humanitarian aid ship bound for southern Israel’s Ashdod port left Mersin on Friday, the official said, “the second major shipment of humanitarian aid to Gaza since an agreement was reached”.

The shipment is the first since Turkish lawmakers ratified the deal to normalise ties between the two countries last month.

Under the deal, Israel will pay Turkey $20 million (17.7 million euros) in compensation for a botched Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship in 2010 that left 10 Turks dead.

The official, who did not wish to be named, said Ankara had sent 100 wheelchairs, 1,000 bicycles, 100,000 backpacks and stationery kits, 300,000 pieces of clothing and 350,000 nappies.

The shipment also contained 1,288 tons of flour, 170 tons of rice, 64 tons of sugar, 95 tons of vegetable oil, the official said.

“We expect the items to be distributed to the people of Gaza before the upcoming Islamic holiday,” the official said, referring to the Eid al-Adha holiday, around September 12.

The first shipment reached Gaza on July 4 just in time for the Muslim Eid celebrations marking the end of Ramadan fasting.

Turkey’s ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party has friendly ties with Gaza’s Hamas rulers, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause.

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