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Arab League chief hails 'daring' Gaza activists

Says this act of protest sends a strong message

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Arab League chief Amr Moussa on Sunday hailed the "daring step" taken by pro-Palestinian activists whose boats docked in the Gaza Strip despite a tight Israeli blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

"The act of protest against the Gaza blockade and the solidarity shown by these pro-Palestinian activists sends a strong message highlighting the suffering endured by the people of Gaza," Moussa said in a statement.

The head of the pan-Arab body said he hoped this was the beginning of a wider movement by campaigners from around the world to express their rejection of a blockade he said violated international humanitarian law.

Two boats from Cyprus carrying 44 pro-Palestinian activists from 17 countries, including Israel, docked in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

Israel has tightened its blockade of Gaza since Hamas seized power in June 2007, sealing the territory off to all but very limited humanitarian aid.

The boats, Liberty and Free Gaza, had embarked on the 370-kilometre (230-mile) voyage from Larnaca port on Cyprus's south coast and carried 200 hearing aids for Gaza children and 5,000 balloons.