Israel intercepts ship trying to break Gaza blockade, Australian on board

Israeli security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Adam
Israeli security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Adam

01 August, 2018

Israel said it intercepted on Sunday a Gaza-bound European ship, in the latest attempt by global activists to break the 11-year Israeli blockade on the Palestinian enclave.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition ship is named Al Awda (The Return) to underline the importance of this long-standing demand of Palestinians for the right to return to the lands they have been expelled from.

Afandi Salleh was on the ship carrying a shipment of medicines and basic foodstuffs for almost two million Palestinians in Gaza who are suffering a blockade imposed by Israel since 2007.

"A while ago, a naval operation ended during which a ship sailing from Europe with the aim of violating a naval blockade imposed on Gaza was captured", he said on Twitter. The group said the supplies were "a small but important contribution to the increasingly dire medical situation" in Gaza.

Israeli forces have reportedly stopped the three-vessel Freedom Flotilla which was nearing the Gaza Strip.

The boat was en route to Gaza with 22 people from 16 nations on board and carrying a cargo of €13,000 ($15,000) worth of medical supplies.

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He pre-recorded this urgent SOS message in case of being hijacked by Israeli forces.

In September 2010, Turkey suspended its military ties with Israel and expelled the Israeli envoy from Ankara over Tel Aviv's refusal to apologize for the killing. Ismail Nazari, chairman of Malaysia's boycott Israel campaign; Charlie Andreason of Sweden, who spent time in Israeli detention for his role on the Marianne, a Swedish-flagged trawler leading a flotilla of boats in June 2015; Spanish Jewish activist Zohar Shamir Chamberlain; and Heather Milton-Lightening, an activist for indigenous Canadians.

The boat will be towed to the Ashdod port in southern Israel. The territory has seen brutal wars by Israel over the past years, the last one having been in the summer of 2014, when more than 2,200 Palestinians - mostly civilians, and approximately one quarter children - were killed in Israeli raids.

The leader of the Socialist left party of Norway Audun Lysbakken urged the foreign Ministry to Express a note of protest against "capture" by Israel Norwegian ship in global waters and demanded the release of some of Mikkel Gruner, who was detained by Israeli soldiers. "So much for freedom and democracy in Israel".

Press TV's correspondent Richard Sudan, who is on board the flotilla, said in a video posted online that one of the vessels had dropped out with an unspecified "problem" and that two boats were now making their way toward Gaza.

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

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