(photo credit: IDF)
The Israel Navy intercepted a yacht trying to break the Israel-imposed
blockade on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
The ship, carrying a group of
Jewish passengers from around the world, was boarded by soldiers and was
diverted to the Ashdod Port.
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The boarding of the ship took place as it
entered restricted waters off the coast of Israel and it met no
The ship had been shadowed since late Monday night by two
“It is unfortunate that the navy has to be distracted from
preventing terror and weapons-smuggling to deal with this kind of
the IDF said in a statement.
Before the takeover, the navy issued two
warnings to the yacht, saying those aboard were breaking Israeli and
international law. The captain ignored the warnings and the ship entered
Former Israel Air Force pilot Yonatan Shapira, one of
the activists on the Irene, claimed he had been physically assaulted by
soldiers during the maneuver.
“There are no words to describe what we
went through on that boat. The IDF is trying to put a media spin on
saying it was a non-violent takeover, but the soldiers’ actions were
disgusting. I was tasered.
“Our message is that the occupation of Gaza
cannot continue,” he added.
The Irene, which was carrying nine Jewish
activists from Israel and other countries, set sail from Cyprus on
activists had said they were trying to draw attention to Israel’s
Gaza and would not resist if they were stopped.
spokesman Andy David called the activists’ claim to be bringing aid to
“ridiculous” and labeled the voyage “a politically motivated
The passengers on the ship were questioned during the day
on Tuesday at the Ashdod police station before being released on bail
A police spokeswoman said they were questioned on suspicion
of attempting to illegally enter Gaza in violation of the Disengagement
which prohibits entry to the Strip without prior approval.
forces have also seized equipment on the ship and are in the process of
that none of the items pose a threat to national security.Jerusalem Post
staff contributed to this report.