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Cyprus

UK defence denies lethal cargo taken to Israel from Akrotiri

protest at gates of raf akrotiri, british base on cyprus used to launch strikes against houthi militia in yemen, near limassol
The protest outside Akrotiri on Sunday morning

British forces in Cyprus continue to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, a UK Ministry of Defence spokesman said on Sunday after protest earlier in the day outside the Akrotiri base.

The spokesman also said no Royal Air Force (RAF) flight to Israel had carried any lethal cargo.

However, early on Friday morning planes from Akrotiri had been included in British bombing raids in Yemen, although the Cyprus government was quick to say it had no role in these attacks.

Britain is not obliged to seek permission from Cyprus for operations out of Akrotiri under the terms of the bases’ presence on the island.

Demonstrators at Akrotiri said the bases were a destabilising force in the region and called for them to be closed down.

“We are focused on getting significantly more aid to Gaza and have doubled the UK’s humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people to £60 million,” the defence ministry spokesman added.

He further noted that last week, the RFA Lyme Bay vessel, with the support of British forces in Cyprus, delivered 87 tons of British and Cypriot aid to Egypt to reach the people of Gaza.

He also said four RAF aircraft delivered another 74 tonnes of humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians via Egypt.

The statement recalled that the UK continues to call for immediate, unhindered and safe humanitarian access to bring life-saving aid to civilians in Gaza.

It added that in response to a direct request from the IDF, the UK has provided medical equipment, including defibrillators and blankets for emergencies.

“This is in line with our approach to provide life-saving medical supplies in response to requests from other governments around the world,” it said.

The UK respects and supports the right to peaceful protest and that “British forces in Cyprus are a force for good in the region and play a vital role in supporting humanitarian and disaster relief operations.”

This latest humanitarian aid operation follows the recent support of British forces in Cyprus, “together with our partners in the Republic of Cyprus to relieve those affected by the tragic earthquake in Turkey and Syria and to help transport around 2,450 people to safety during evacuation from Sudan.”

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