NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus says it has banned any ship from sailing to Gaza from its shores because organizers of a flotilla trying to break a blockade of the Palestinian territory ignored a government appeal not to involve the island.

Acting government spokesman Titos Christofides did not specify on Friday what the organizers did to trigger the ban. He condemned the 3-year blockade and expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people, but said the appeal was made to protect the island's "vital interests."

Some 750 activists aboard 8 ships are on their way the Gaza coast after setting sail from Ireland, Greece and Turkey carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies.

Israel has vowed to stop the ships. Cyprus is situated some 400 kilometers northwest of Gaza.

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