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Women-only ship to leave Lebanon for Gaza this weekend

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A ship bearing aid for Gaza is preparing to leave Lebanon this weekend in the latest attempt to defy the Israeli blockade with only women on board, and the Guardian reports. 

The Saint Mariam, buy or Virgin Mary, has a multi-faith international passenger list, including the Lebanese singer May Hariri and a group of nuns from the US. "They are nuns, doctors, lawyers, journalists, Christians and Muslims," said Mona, one of the participants who, along with the other women, has adopted the ship's name, Mariam.

The Mariam and its sister ship, Naji Alali, had hoped to set off several weeks ago but faced several delays after Israel launched a diplomatic mission to pressure Lebanon to stop the mission.

The co-ordinator of the voyage, Samar al-Haj, told the Guardian this week the Lebanese government had given permission for the boats to leave for Cyprus, the first leg of the journey, this weekend.

Israel says it is concerned a flotilla from Lebanon, with whom it has ongoing hostility, will smuggle weapons to Gaza. Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, has warned that Israel reserves the right to use "necessary measures" in line with international law to stop the ship.

All I can say is – good luck to them. 

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