Alexa

Activists: Israeli navy blocks Gaza protest boat

 A boat, loaded with international protesters sets sail for Gaza from the Cypriot port of Larnaca, Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. International act...
 A boat, loaded with international protesters, sets sail for Gaza from the Cypriot port of Larnaca, Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. International ac...

CYPRUS PALESTINIANS GAZA BLOCKADE

A boat, loaded with international protesters sets sail for Gaza from the Cypriot port of Larnaca, Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. International act...

CYPRUS GAZA BLOCKADE

A boat, loaded with international protesters, sets sail for Gaza from the Cypriot port of Larnaca, Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. International ac...

Israeli warships forced a boat trying to deliver food and medical supplies to Gaza to return to Cyprus early Thursday.
Free Gaza group spokeswoman Mary Hughes-Thompson said Israeli naval vessels surrounded the 66-foot (20-meter) Greek-flagged boat off southern Lebanon and threatened to open fire if it did not turn back.
The Israeli military said navy ships warned the boat to turn back because it was entering a war zone subject to a naval blockade. The ship turned back without incident, the military said.
Hughes-Thompson said the boat, carrying 5 tons of supplies and 21 passengers, including three surgeons, was expected to arrive at Larnaca port in Cyprus by Thursday evening.
It was the second failed bid by the U.S.-based group to try to reach Gaza since Israel launched its assault on the Palestinian territory late last month in response to rocket fire on Israel.
One of the trip's organizers, Vangelis Pisias, said the Israeli navy had threatened to open fire on the Greek-flagged boat Spirit of Humanity, which was carrying the activists.
"They told us that it was forbidden to go to our destination. We replied that we were carrying humanitarian supplies and continued on our course," Pisias told Greece's private Antenna television.
"About half an hour later, they returned with a threat, telling us they were obliged to stop the boat with all means possible ... They said if we did not stop they would shoot."
In a statement, Free Gaza said the incident occurred in international waters and described the incident as "shocking."
"At roughly 1:00 a.m. GMT, in international waters 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, at least five Israeli gunboats surrounded the Spirit of Humanity and began recklessly cutting in front of the slow-moving civilian craft," the statement said. "The Israeli warships radioed the Spirit, demanding that the ship turn around or they would open fire and shoot,"
In Athens, the Greek Foreign Ministry said it had sent a strong protest to the Israeli Foreign Ministry that "emphasized and asked for the Israeli authorities to pay particular attention to the protection of the lives and security of those on board the boat."
It said protests had also been sent the previous day to the Israeli foreign and defense ministries.


Updated : 2020-11-30 01:35 GMT+08:00