Two small boats approaching the Gaza coast have been boarded by Israeli Defense Force, according to pro-Palestinian activists. The IDF Chief of Staff ordered the navy to board the vessels should they refuse radio requests.
Nobody was injured during the takeover, according to the Israeli military. They say the operation followed numerous attempts of the IDF to contact the activists onboard, but failed, as the latter showed “unwillingness to cooperate”.
“Upon arrival of the vessels at the Ashdod port, the activists will be transferred to the custody of the Israel Police and immigration authorities in the Ministry of Interior,” the IDF informs.
Earlier, the Israeli military notified the Freedomwaves vessels they should either return to their port of origin or sail to Egypt.
According to pro-Palestinian activists, they lost contact with their two ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. That came after they were allegedly intercepted by Israeli navy vessels in international waters.
The boats are carrying supplies and 27 activists, according to AP. If the Gaza-bound Freedomwaves boats reach Gaza, Israel’s naval blockade of the territory will have been violated. The Gaza naval blockade, as Israel claims, was established to prevent the transporting of weapons to the Iran-backed group Hamas, which rules the Gaza territory, and similar units. Their stance is that necessary supplies may be sent to Gaza overland.