Navy prepares for arrival of flotilla

By
May 26, 2010 23:01

Drills include commandeering of ships, which could induce violence.

1 minute read.



A ship protesting the Gaza blockade

GazaProtestFlotilla311. (photo credit: .)

The IDF announced Wednesday evening that it was planning to stop the international convoy of nine ships currently on its way to Gaza carrying hundreds of activists and thousands of tons of supplies.

The IDF said it planned to intercept the ships as they approached the Gaza Strip and urge them to turn back.

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“If they decide to continue sailing and do not listen to the instructions, then they will be stopped, brought to Israel and dealt with by the Interior Ministry, which will return them to the countries they came from,” an IDF statement said.

According to the statement, the IDF will unload the supplies and transfer the shipment to the Gaza Strip, after inspecting it for weaponry.

The Navy has held a number of drills in recent weeks to prepare for the arrival of the small fleet, which is expected to try breaking the Israel-imposed sea blockade on Gaza and dock at its newly expanded port.

The scenarios drilled included the commandeering of the ships, which could, military sources said Wednesday, include violent clashes – depending on the response by the passengers on the vessels.

“We will do everything to ensure that the operation runs smoothly, but are prepared for every possible scenario,” one defense official explained.

Meanwhile Wednesday, the IDF continued its media blitz against the flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza organization, and released data showing that all of the supplies the ships are carrying were already being transferred by Israel to Gaza via land crossings on a regular basis.

“This flotilla is a provocation that is not needed considering the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which is stable and good,” said Col. Moshe Levi, commander of the IDF’s Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration. Levi said that 100 trucks, loaded with supplies, enter Gaza on a daily basis, and that in the past two months over 1,200 tons of medical supplies were transferred to the Strip.


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