Hamas: Seizure of Gaza-bound ship is 'piracy, war crime'

Condemnation comes after Navy intercepts French ship; Arab League: Takeover is "act of piracy," int'l community should respond aggressively.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
July 19, 2011 18:06
1 minute read.
The French ship 'Dignity - Al-Karama'

French ship Dignity 311. (photo credit: IDF)

Hamas on Tuesday condemned the Israeli seizure of the Gaza-bound French ship Dignity - Al-Karama, with spokesman Ismail Rudwan describing it as "piracy, a war crime and a violation of the principles of human rights."

The Navy commandeered and intercepted the French ship after negotiations to persuade 15 pro-Palestinian activists aboard to divert their course away from the Strip's closed naval blockade failed.

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The Arab League also condemned the interception of the ship, calling it an "act of piracy," according to Israel Radio.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby demanded that the international community and the UN Security Council respond aggressively to Israel's actions.

According to the Israel Radio report, following the French boat's interception, France also called on Israel to respect the rights of the Dignity's passengers and allow them to return to their home countries.

Navy soldiers did not encounter any resistance during the interception of the ship which resulted after the boat's captain refused to cooperate with the IDF's demand to divert its course to the Ashdod Port, the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement.

An IDF doctor inspected the passengers and they were transferred to one of the navy ships where they received food and water. The bridge of the Dignity was taken over by navy officers and then sailed towards the Ashdod Port. It docked there on Tuesday afternoon. The 15 passengers will be transferred to Interior Ministry officials and immigration authorities in Ashdod. They will likely be deported from Israel.

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