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Aid workers arrive 'safe and uninjured' in Greece

Two Irish nationals are among a group of aid workers bound for Gaza who were brought to Greece against their will following a reported argument with a ship’s captain.

Ken O'Keefe, one of two Irish citizens, brought to Greece against their will
Ken O'Keefe, one of two Irish citizens, brought to Greece against their will

A GROUP OF aid workers are safe and uninjured following a reported dispute over money which led the captain of a ship meant to bring aid to Gaza to sail towards Greece instead.

All of the 10 aid workers, including two Irish nationals, are said to be in good health after the incident.

One of the Irishmen, Ken O’Keefe, was injured during the Gaza Freedom Flotilla raid last May. Nine men on the Turkish-led vessel Mavi Marmara were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the ship – an incident which led to international condemnation.

Dozens of other aid workers, including six Irish nationals were left in the Libyan port of Derna yesterday after the ship abruptly set sail before it could be fully loaded, Reuters reports. Those on who were on board at the time were then taken to Greece against their will.

Greek officials are now processing those on board the Strofades IV, and the Department of Foreign Affairs is in contact with Libyan and Greek authorities.

The Road to Hope charity had planned to send aid to Gaza by first sailing to Egypt with supplies before bringing them overland to Palestine.

Laura Stuart, one of the organisers waiting on the quayside at Derna, told the Guardian:

The Greek captain changed his mind while one of our vehicles was already on the ramp and 10 of our people were on board. The chief of police from Derna and four other Libyan officials were also negotiating on the vessel.

It was very, very dangerous. The captain drove his ship back and forwards, breaking the mooring ropes, bounced around the harbour and headed off to sea with the ramp doors still open.

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