Israeli forces seize aid ship heading for Gaza
The ship should have went
to Egypt as scheduled. They
should have known that
Israel would not allow them
to land in Gaza.
Citing security concerns, Israeli naval forces early Thursday commandeered a ship trying to bring humanitarian supplies into Gaza and redirected it to an Israeli port.
The Israel Defense Forces said no gunshots were fired as Israeli naval forces boarded the vessel, named Tali, which had originated in Tripoli, Lebanon.
On Wednesday evening, the Israeli navy warned the vessel that it would not be allowed to enter Gaza because of security concerns and the existing naval blockade, the IDF said.
The ship should have followed
instructions and the aid would
already be in Gaza.
Maan Bashur, who was coordinating the shipment of aid, said the ship's nine passengers included six Lebanese activists and a Lebanese religious man, a British activist and a Palestinian religious man.
Bashur said the ship was carrying 50 tons of aid for Gaza -- including medical equipment, food and toys -- when it was stopped Wednesday night about 20 miles off the Palestinian territory's coast by Israeli warships, backed by two helicopters.
He said the Israelis warned the Togo-flagged ship that any continuation of its journey would break international law.
This was more a publicity stunt
than a real attempt to help the
people of Gaza.
"While at sea, the cargo boat was contacted by Israel, clarifying that it will not be permitted to enter Gazan coastal waters because of security risks in the area and the existing naval blockade," the statement said.
The crew stated it would sail to the Egyptian port of Al-Arish, but eventually tried to slip into Gaza, the military said.
It said the crew would be questioned by police and any humanitarian goods aboard the vessel taken to Gaza.
Israel has decided to release a cargo ship. The freighter will be redirected back to Lebanon on Friday.
The Israel Navy boarded the vessel after it tried to break the blockade, 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.
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