'Flotilla activists still being detained in Israel'

Six activists who sailed to Israel in attempt to break Gaza blockade deported, AFP reports; remaining 21 undergoing court proceedings.

November 6, 2011 14:44
1 minute read.
Gaza-bound Canadian boat "Tahrir"

Gaza-bound Canadian boat "Tahrir". (photo credit: Freedom Waves/Facebook)


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Twenty-one of the activists who sailed to Israel on Friday in an attempt to break the Gaza blockade were still being detained in the country on Sunday, AFP reported.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad explained to AFP, "There are 21 passengers detained who refused to be expelled immediately and are engaged in proceedings against their deportation before an Israeli judge. Only after these proceedings are complete... can they be deported."

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Six of the original 27 activists aboard the Irish Saoirse and Canadian Tahrir boats have already been released. The rest of the group was being detained at a detention facility near Tel Aviv.

Authorities began deporting the pro-Palestinian activists on Saturday. An Immigration Authority spokeswoman said two Greek citizens were flown home on Saturday and two journalists, one American and one Spanish, were to board flights on Sunday. One Israeli citizen was released, as was an Egyptian woman who had crossed back to Egypt overnight, the spokeswoman said.

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 Tahrir and 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.


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