28 September, 2010 — PressTV
Israeli warships have intercepted a Jewish aid boat bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip, forcefully diverting the aid vessel to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
‘Ten Israeli warships forced the boat to head for (the Israeli port) of Ashdod by force, but without raiding the ship,’ Amjad al-Shawa, a Gaza-based organizer told AFP.
‘They surrendered because they were surrounded. They had no choice,’ he further explained.
The British-flagged aid vessel Irene was carrying seven Jewish activists from Israel, Britain, Germany and the United States, and two journalists, one of whom is an Israeli.
Earlier, Yonatan Shapira, one of the Israeli activists on board, said the navy had contacted the boat and ordered the crew to change course.
‘They said we were approaching an area under naval blockade and told us to change course,’ Shapira told AFP by satellite telephone, saying the boat was about 20 miles from the Gaza coast.
The Israeli forces also warned that the passengers and crew would be held legally liable if they insisted on heading to Gaza, especially those with Israeli nationality.
The Israeli army did not immediately comment on the report and declined to confirm that contact had been made with the boat.
On May 31, Israeli navy commandos killed nine Turkish activists onboard a civilian aid convoy while it was in international waters.
A report by the UN Human Rights Council said the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla ‘constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.’
The UN probe also termed as ‘unlawful’ the continuation of the blockade that has caused great physical and mental harm to the Gaza residents.