Global News

Israel navy intercepts activist boat trying to break Gaza blockade

Israel navy intercepts activist boat trying to break Gaza blockade

The motor vessel, named Al Awda, or The Return, was contacted Sunday afternoon by Israel's Navy about 49 nautical miles from the port at Gaza City in worldwide waters and warned to stop or prepare to be boarded, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said on its website.

The "Freedom Flotilla" group said that the boat had been "seized" and that the ship had received a warning from the navy prior to the interception.

The leader of the Norwegian "freedom flotilla" Thorstein Dahle calls Kaarstein first Norwegian ship which tried to break the blockade of the enclave.

Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement yesterday that it "condemns in the strongest terms the action by the Israeli authorities" and that a Malaysian - Dr Mohd Afandi Salleh from the non-profit Humanitarian Care Malaysia (MyCare) - was among those detained.

In 2010, six ships, carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials to Gaza, were blocked by Israel's navy commando unit in global waters off Gaza.

The motor vessel, named "Al Awda", or "The Return" in Arabic, was contacted by the Israeli military in worldwide waters some 49 nautical miles from the port of Gaza city, the flotilla's organizers said on their website.

The worldwide Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) is a grassroots people-to-people solidarity movement composed of campaigns and initiatives from all over the world working together to end the siege of Gaza.

Speaking to journalists at the parliament, Peoples' Democratic Party's lawmaker Tulay Hatimogullari reminded that Israeli forces had martyred at least 150 Palestinians and wounded 15,000 others during protests in Gaza since the beginning of this year.

A boat bound to Gaza Strip intercepted by Israeli navy arrives to Ashdod port, Israel, Sunday, July 29, 2018.

An Israeli border guard during clashes with Palestinian protesters in the village of Kobar in the occupied West Bank

"The Israeli navy claims our ship is breaking worldwide law and threatens that they will use "any measures necessary" to stop us", it said.

"The activity ended without exceptional events", a military statement said on Sunday. The Al-Awda ship was rerouted to the nearby city of Ashdod.

The Israeli decision came in response to the Palestinian arson kites and helium balloons flying from Gaza into Israel, which caused large fire and losses in the Israeli territory.

By far, the biggest flotilla to sail for Gaza was in 2010, when six ships sailed for Gaza headed by the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish-registered vessel.

"It is interesting that the two Israeli citizens released on bail have been charged with trying to enter Gaza".

Mr Treen was part of a flotilla that was stopped near Gaza in global waters.

While many foreign powers have censured Israel's handling of Gaza, the United States has echoed its blaming of Hamas.

It was only in 2008 when two boats carrying 40 people successfully managed to reach the coast of Gaza.

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