Israel warship contacts Gaza-bound activist boat

Ship is 20 miles from Gaza coast; activist aboard the boat: 2 Israeli Navy ships have escorted us for half an hour.

By JPOST.COM, ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 28, 2010 10:41
1 minute read.
Palestinians ride boats in Gaza waters and an Isra

Gaza Boat 311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

 
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An Israeli activist told Israel Radio that the two Israeli Navy ships have escorted the boat carrying Jewish activists to Gaza for half an hour on Tuesday morning, and more ships are on the horizon.

"The army established contact with the captain, and asked him where we are headed," Rami Elhanan, who is aboard the Irene, said. "The navy asked to bypass the ship from 5 miles to the right, and we complied."

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"We said we are headed to Gaza and sailing under the British flag," Elhanan added.

Elhanan also reported that the captain was not told that the boat will be stopped. "I have no idea when, if at all, we will be intercepted," he said.


Capt. Glynn Secker says his boat is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Gaza and that expects the navy to intercept the Irene within the next hours.

The Israeli military said Tuesday it would not intervene until the boat tries to breach the blockade, and has not reported that it approached or contacted the ship.

The Irene, which is carrying nine Jewish activists from Israel and other countries, set sail from Cyprus on Sunday. The activists said they are trying to draw attention to Israel's blockade of Gaza and will not resist if they are stopped.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David called the activists' claim to be bringing aid to Gaza "ridiculous" and labeled the voyage "a politically motivated provocation."

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