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TEHRAN -- Israel preventing Iran Red Crescent ship carrying medicines and food from reaching the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, state television reported. "We are now close to Gaza, only a few miles away, but facing prevention by the Israeli navy which will not give us permission to pass," Ahmad Navabi, the head of the relief team, told the television by telephone. "They have ordered us to return. If this [situation] continues we will have to go back to the [Egyptian] port of Al Arish and deliver the aid through the Rafah gateway," he added. The Iranian ship, loaded with more than 2000 tons of medicine and food, left the southern port city of Bandar Abbas in the Gulf two weeks ago. Israel's deadly offensive against the Hamas in Gaza has killed nearly 1000 innocent Palestinians and wounded more than 4500 since December 27.