Follow Up: So-called Gaza Aid ship had little aid after all.
This is just pathetic.
The Israel Navy boarded a freighter trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip on Thursday and escorted it into the port of Ashdod, Israeli officials said.
The Israel Defense Forces said that troops found about 150 bottles of mineral water and a few dozen kilograms of food and medicine on board, despite earlier claims that it was carrying dozens of tons of humanitarian aid.
The Tali, a cargo vessel flying the flag of the West African state of Togo, was sent by the Palestinian National Committee Against the Siege in cooperation with the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement. Its cargo was claimed to have included about 60 tons of medicine, food and toys, plus 10,000 units of human blood plasma which requires constant refrigeration.
No weapons were found aboard the ship, an Israeli army spokesman said.
It was the first apparent attempt by a foreign ship carrying aid to reach the Palestinian territory since Israel ended its 22-day offensive against Hamas in Gaza two weeks ago.
Military sources said that on board the vessel - dubbed the "Brotherhood Ship" - were nine people, including Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem Monsignor Hilarion Capucci, who was arrested in 1974 after being caught smuggling weapons from Lebanon to activists in the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Capucci was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but was released after three years upon a papal request to the Israeli government. He has made frequent anti-Israel comments since his release
This is an update and follow up to this on going story. The military said that a naval patrol spoke by radio to the Tali, told its skipper that it would not be allowed to enter Gaza and the two sides agreed that the vessel would instead sail to the Egyptian port of El-Arish.
"As a result of the actions taken by the boat crew, an Israel Navy force intercepted, boarded, and took control of the cargo boat, directing it toward (the port) of Ashdod, Israel," the statement said. "No gunshots were fired on board during the boarding and capturing of the cargo boa
But on Thursday morning, the ship tried to double back and slip past the navy, Israel said, raising concerns that it might be trying to smuggle arms into Gaza.
Israel Navy forces boarded a cargo ship carrying activists and supplies from Lebanon to Gaza on Thursday after its crew refused instructions to turn back.
Reporters on board the ship said Navy gunboats had fired on the vessel and IDF soldiers had boarded it.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed the incident. The ship, he said, had initially been turned back and, after stating that it would sail to Egypt, tried to "crawl" back to Gaza.