Lebanon on June 21 said it would allow a Gaza-bound aid ship to sail despite warnings from Israel that it reserved the right to use all necessary means to stop ships that try to sail from Lebanon to Gaza. Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi said he had granted permission for the ship, Julia, to sail to Cyprus, saying that a state of war between Lebanon and Israel prevented the boat from heading directly to Gaza. “Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and no ship has ever sailed from Lebanon to Israel,” Aridi told Reuters. “Now what the Cypriots will decide, I don't know. Cyprus may not allow them to sail to Gaza,” Aridi said.
The ship, now docked in the northern port city of Tripoli, was registered in Paris and there were Lebanese and foreign nationals on it. Julia’s spokesman, Tha'er Ghandour, said the ship would sail within days but would not give a date due to security concerns, adding the boat was carrying cement, medical supplies and toys.