TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran's Red Crescent is sending a shipment of aid to the Gaza Strip in the face of a blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory by Islamic republic's archfoe Israel, the state broadcaster reported on Friday.
"Despite the Zionist regime's opposition... this consignment will leave Bandar Abbas for Palestine on Saturday and will arrive in 12 days," a provincial Red Crescent director, Ahmad Navvab, was quoted as saying.
"The cargo contains over 2,000 tonnes of food, medicine and appliances and it will be accompanied by 12 Iranian doctors and relief workers," he said.
Earlier this month, the Red Crescent said it aimed to send a 1,000-tonne shipment of grain, sugar, oil and medicine to the aid-dependent land, which has been subject to Israeli blockades and repeated raids since the Islamists of Hamas seized power in June 2007.
Violence in and around Gaza has flared since a six-month ceasefire ended on December 19 and there is widespread speculation Israeli forces are gearing up for large scale military action in the coastal strip.
Israel responded to violence that erupted around Gaza in early November by tightening its blockade of the territory and blocking deliveries of humanitarian aid and other basic supplies.
Tehran is a staunch supporter of Hamas but rejects allegations it is supplying arms to the movement, saying it only provides moral backing.
Iran does not recognise the Jewish state and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map and called the Jewish Holocaust a "myth."