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Gaza-bound flotilla struggles to launch

ATHENS — Frustrated pro-Palestinian organizers wanting to bring supplies to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip pressed Greek port authorities Tuesday to overcome Israeli hurdles and let an aid flotilla sail.

Organizers said they believe the Jewish state was actively “creating obstacles” to block ships from leaving the Greek port of Piraeus, near Athens.

Israel repeatedly has said it is determined to stop the multinational activist mission from breaching its blockade — recalling a similar attempt to reach Gaza in May last year that ended in violence when Israeli troops stormed the lead vessel, leaving nine Turks dead.

“The Israelis are trying to wear us down,” said Debra, an American activist who gave only her first name.

“They’re doing everything they can think of to delay and demotivate us. They’re using the weapon of time,” she said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports