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Turkey says aid sent to Gaza after Israel deal approved

Second shipment following Jerusalem-Ankara reconciliation includes wheelchairs, diapers and food stuffs for distribution ahead of Eid

A ship named 'Lady Leyla' is seen as Turkish government sends humanitarian aid to Gaza after Turkish-Israeli reconciliation deal, in Mersin, Turkey on July 1, 2016. (Photo by Sezgin Pancar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A ship named 'Lady Leyla' is seen as Turkish government sends humanitarian aid to Gaza after Turkish-Israeli reconciliation deal, in Mersin, Turkey on July 1, 2016. (Photo by Sezgin Pancar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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

A humanitarian aid ship bound for Israel’s southern port of Ashdod 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 normalize ties between the two countries late 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.

A truck laden with humanitarian aid from Turkey enters the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing on Monday, July 4, 2016 (Defense Ministry)
A truck laden with humanitarian aid from Turkey enters the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing on Monday, July 4, 2016 (Defense Ministry)

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 diapers.

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.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan alongside Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh during a January 2012 meeting in Istanbul (Photo credit: Mohammed al-Ostaz/ Flash 90)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan alongside Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh during a January 2012 meeting in Istanbul (Photo credit: Mohammed al-Ostaz/ Flash 90)

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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