Navy intercepts Gaza-bound boats, nobody injured
LAST UPDATED: 11/04/2011 16:36
Flotilla boarded after activists refuse military's calls to stop their progress towards Gaza; Navy escorts ships to Ashdod Port.
The Navy successfully boarded two Gaza-bound boats attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip on Friday and lead them to Ashdod Port, the IDF spokesman's office said.
The Canadian Tahrir and Irish Saoirse were boarded after they failed to heed Israeli instructions to stop their progress towards Gaza. According to the IDF, nobody was injured during the boarding of the boats.
The activists were turned over to police and immigration authorities upon their arrival at Ashdod.
As the two-boat Gaza
flotilla approached the region, the Navy made first radio contact with the activists. The IDF informed the vessels
that their current course was leading them toward a naval closure off the
coast of Gaza, which is in line with international law.
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vessels were informed that they could turn around and prevent an
infringement of the closure or head to a port in Egypt. The activists on
board refused to heed the navy's call and refused to act in accordance
with the instructions they were given.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz ordered the navy
to board the flotilla vessels after they refused radio requests.
be unloaded at the Ashdod port and will be transferred into the Gaza
Strip via the legal land crossings," an IDF spokesperson stated.
Earlier on Friday activists tweeted they were "still heading for Gaza with the Saoirse" and that there had been no
sign of the IDF yet.
"We are delighted
to hear Palestinians in fishing boats are getting ready to welcome us,"
they said, adding that they were 70 miles [113 kilometers] from the
shores of Gaza.
The activists set sail from Turkey on Wednesday aboard the Tahrir and Saoirse yachts carrying medical supplies. The Israeli military had said it would not permit them to breach its blockade.