Israeli Navy Boards Gaza-Bound Ship

Posted October 20th, 2012 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
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Israel says its navy has boarded a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists attempting to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.

The Israeli military said Saturday the operation was a peaceful and the passengers did not offer any resistance.

A military statement said the Finnish-flagged Estelle was being diverted to the port of Ashdod by Israeli vessels.

Mikael Lofgren, a media coordinator on board Estelle, told al-Jazeera that five or six Israeli vessels surrounded Estelle and soldiers wearing masks boarded the ship. Lofgren said the unarmed activists onboard the ship had done “lots of non-violence training.” He said the ship was carrying footballs, cement, musical instruments, and children's books.

The Estelle is the latest of a series of activist-manned boats challenging Israel's blockade on Gaza. Most of the vessels have been similarly diverted.

In 2010, an Israeli naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla killed nine activists on board the flagship, sparking international condemnation.