Two Greek C-130 military airplanes took off Thursday with a cargo of 280 tons of humanitarian aid destined for the injured people in the Gaza Strip.
The C-130s, manned by a five-member crew each, carried one of the largest Greek dispatches of blood and blood by-products, as well as antibiotics and other medical supplies, Athens News Agency reported.
The aid will be turned over to the World Health Organization (WHO) for the wounded Palestinians in Gaza, it said.
The Israeli operation, dubbed Cast Lead, entered its sixth day on Thursday. The offensive beginning Saturday has so far killed more than 400 people and injured over 2,000 others, Palestinian sources said.
Theodoros Skylakakis, Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development at Greek Foreign Ministry, said the Greek aid "is one of the first missions that will arrive in Gaza in the wake of Israeli bombings."
"We are sending blood. We are sending assistance, which is crucial in this very difficult situation faced by the people of Palestine, the people of Gaza," Skylakakis said, adding that a larger dispatch of humanitarian assistance by ship is being planned.
(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2009)