Israeli navy takes over Gaza-bound French ship

By AMY TEIBEL | AP – Arab News

An Israeli military naval ship sails off the port of Ashdod as a cargo ship makes it way to the port in Israel on Tuesday. The Israeli military said Tuesday it has made initial contact with a ship attempting to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. (AP)

JERUSALEM: Israeli naval commandos on Tuesday seized control of a French ship attempting to break Israel’s sea blockade of the Gaza Strip and towed it into port, reporting no resistance during the takeover in international waters.

The incident was the latest in a series of run-ins on the high seas between the Israeli navy and pro-Palestinian activists trying to breach the blockade. In the most contentious incident, nine Turkish activists were killed in a clash with Israeli commandos last year.

Tuesday’s standoff was far more subdued. The navy intercepted the “Dignity Al-Karama” some 40 miles (65 kilometers) off the coast and boarded the ship without incident after the crew ignored calls to change course.

“The takeover was orderly and done with restraint,” the navy’s deputy commander, Brig. Gen. Rani Ben-Yehudah told reporters at the southern Israeli port of Ashdod. “Nobody was hurt and the ship wasn’t damaged.”

2 replies

  1. From BBC:

    Israeli commandos have intercepted and boarded a boat trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

    The Dignite-al Karama, the sole representative of an initial 10-vessel flotilla, had earlier been warned to change course.

    The Israeli military said the boat had been boarded peacefully. It was later escorted into the Israeli port of Ashdod.

    An anti-blockade protest group said the boat had been in international waters.

    ‘Diplomacy exhausted’

    Maxime Guimberteau from A French Boat for Gaza said activists on board the Dignite-al Karama had told him they were 40 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza when the boat was surrounded by four Israeli navy ships. He said their conversation then cut off.

  2. Many Jews and ‘Israel lovers’ state how wonderful the Israeli state acted to ‘leave Gaza’. Well, ‘leave Gaza’ and turn it into a blockaded prison camp (in other words: “Ghetto”) is not such a big favor.

    Unfortunate that the US supports such action and the Western countries turn a blind eye.

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