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Libyan aid ship turns back from Gaza

JERUSALEM, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A Libyan ship said to be carrying humanitarian aid bound for the Gaza Strip turned back from an Israeli naval blockade Monday, an official said.

The ship docked in an Egyptian port instead of trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza's seaport, a foreign ministry official told reporters, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency of New York said.

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The officials said no force was used to turn back the ship, which was thought to be carrying an estimated 3,000 tons of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid. It had been approached by an Israeli Navy boat near the Gaza coast.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided Thursday not to allow the Libyan ship to drop anchor in Gaza's port, the Jerusalem Post reported, saying the navy had been given orders to stop it if it had entered Israeli waters.

"We will treat this boat different than the earlier ones that were allowed into Gaza," one official told the newspaper. "Libya is a hostile state to Israel and what guarantees do we have that the boat is not carrying weapons and explosives for Hamas?"

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