Hamas refused on Wednesday to allow the aid equipment that was captured by the IDF aboard the flotilla ships earlier this week to enter the Gaza Strip.
"We refuse to receive the humanitarian aid until all those who were detained aboard the ships are released," said Ahmed Kurd, Minister for Social Welfare in the Hamas government said. "We also insist that the equipment be delivered in its entirety."
Kurd said that Israel's decision to allow a number of wheelchairs to be delivered to the Gaza Strip was a "deception," claiming that the batteries that operate them had been removed, making them useless.
The Hamas minister said that Israel's decision to send some of the aid that was seized aboard the ships to the Gaza Strip was designed to divert attention from the "massacre" that took place in the sea.
Calling for lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, Kurd welcomed Egypt's decision to reopen the Rafah border crossing. He expressed hope that the terminal would remain opened on a permanent basis.
Taher a-Nunu, spokesman for the Hamas government, said that the issue of the humanitarian aid would be resolved only through consultations with the organizers of the convoy in Turkey.
He stressed that Hamas's top priority now was to ensure the release of
all those who were detained aboard the ships.
Egyptian authorities on Wednesday banned Hamas's Minister of Health,
Basem Naim, from travelling through the Rafah terminal.
Naim was on his way from the Gaza Strip to attend a conference of the
Arab Physicians Union in Algeria when the Egyptians turned him away.
The Egyptians did not offer any explanation for their decision to ban
Naim from crossing the Rafah terminal, which was reopened after the
confrontation between the IDF and international activists aboard the
flotilla aid ships.
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