Activists aboard a flotilla to Gaza [file].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The IDF was preparing to escort the Gaza-bound all- female flotilla ship the "Zaytouna" to the Ashdod Port as the vessel was expected to attempt to illegally breach Israel's maritime blockade of the Strip on Wednesday afternoon.
The Israeli security establishment was not expecting any irregular activity with the procedural maneuver of the 14-member flotilla crew .
On Tuesday night, the ship "Zaytouna
" was apparently located approximately 100 nautical miles from Israel's coastline between Cyprus and the Egyptian port city of Alexandria. The ship was allegedly picking up speed in order to arrive at Gaza's coastline.
Israeli security estimates deduct that similar to previous flotilla attempts, the all-female ship is trying to generate publicity. Israel does not permit unauthorized breaches of the naval blockade off of the Gaza coastline, and Israel was yet to confirm whether the flotilla was transporting humanitarian aid.
How the IDF reroutes a Gaza-bound flotilla
A security source said on Tuesday "there is no siege on Gaza. Israel sends between 800-1000 trucks with goods everyday. Anyone can send goods to the Gaza Strip on the condition that they pass a regulated check, therefore claims of a siege are baseless from the beginning."
The source added that "media 'shows' like this will not help the Gaza Strip to recover."
The flotilla was supposed to arrive to Israeli naval territory on Tuesday night, however it was delayed by a day.
The Israeli Navy said it is prepared for any attempt to enter Gaza illegally and is ready to take over the ship and arrest activists who defy commanders' instructions. Arik Bender contributed to this article.