It’s over. The so-called Freedom Flotilla III flopped. The Swedish Marianne of Gothenburg, attempting to reach Gaza, has been seized & was escorted by Navy vessels to Israel’s southern port of Ashdod.
Israeli Navy fighters have taken over the Swedish Marianne of Gothenburg, which was on an aid mission to reach Gaza shores and escorted the vessel to Israel’s southern port of Ashdod, iDF spokesperson said early Monday morning. There were no injuries reported.
“IDF says has intercepted and captured Marianne,” the organizers tweeted.
Earlier the organizers of the aid flotilla said that tree of the four vessels headed back to their ports of origin. Swedish Marianne of Gothenburg was continuing alone.
Organizers also said they have lost contact with the Marianne and that Israeli Navy boats were seen trailing the flotilla.
“We lost contact with Marianne at 22.57 (UTC). Boat location: 31º43′ N, 32º33′ E, about 105nm from the destination Gaza city” they tweeted.
The aid flotilla will not be allowed to reach the shores of Gaza, Israeli Foreign Ministry warned Sunday, adding it is prepared for “any scenario.”
The vessels that make up the so-called Freedom Flotilla III set sail last week with the stated aim of delivering medical equipment and solar cell panels for use in Gaza with the Marianne av Goteborg – a fishing boat sailing under a Swedish flag – leading the flotilla.
Having maintained that the flotilla will serve no humanitarian purpose, and is solely aimed to defy the Israeli blockade of the enclave, Israeli officials earlier stated that Israel Defense Forces is preparing to stop the flotilla once it approaches the enclave.
Israel has also addressed an open letter to the pro-Palestinian activists aboard the flotilla making its way toward the Gaza Strip, accusing them of hypocrisy in singling out Israel for alleged human rights violations at a time when brutal wars raging across the Middle East claim heavy tolls.
“It appears you have strayed from your course,” the message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office reads. “Perhaps you intended to set sail to the nearby locale of Syria, where Assad’s regime is perpetrating a massacre of its own people, with the backing of the murderous Iranian regime.”
“Whereas in Israel we are faced with a situation where terror group such as Hamas are out to attack innocent civilians. It is against those murderous endeavors that we defend Israeli citizens in accordance with international law,” the open letter further stated.
Listing the humanitarian aid provided by Israel to Gazans following last year’s devastating 50-day war, the document clarified that Israel “is not prepared to allow the delivery by sea of weapons to the Gaza-based terrorist groups, as was the case in the past.”
Whereas Basel Ghattas of the Joint Arab List, the Israeli Arab Knesset Member who joined the flotilla, wrote to Netanyahu calling him to allow the boats to dock at the Palestinian enclave.
Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 after militants there seized an Israeli soldier, who was eventually freed in 2011 in a trade for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Cairo has also maintained a blockade on the Strip. The blockade was strengthened in 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement took control of Gaza.
In May 2010 nine Turkish citizens were killed after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla that was attempting to reach Gaza. An Israeli inquiry found that the soldiers opened fire after the activists aboard the ship attempted to attack them with knives and metal rods.
However the 18 pro-Palestinian activists currently on board of the ships are considered nonviolent. The assessment in Jerusalem is that if the ship doesn’t abort its mission, Israeli forces will take it to the port of Ashdod.
Close-Up Footage of Mavi Marmara Passengers Attacking IDF Soldiers: May 31, 2010:
Hamas showcases new terror tunnels in video broadcast in Iran
Hamas has produced a video showcasing its work on new tunnels leading into Israel, aimed to allow the terror group’s operatives bypass the Israeli border and carry out attacks inside the country’s territory.
The video, whose claims could not be verified, was broadcast on Iranian television. The Iranian reporter is told by the terror group’s operative that the tunnel stretches the length of three kilometers and reaches into Israel. The video shows the tunnel’s heavily fortified concrete walls.
During Operation Protective Edge last summer, it was revealed that Hamas has an extensive network of tunnels that they could use to get into Israel. Since the end of Operation Protective Edge on August 26 with an open-ended truce agreement the militant group has claimed that the terrorist group still has access to Israel via its tunnel network, and that there will be “no security” in Israel as long as there is none in Gaza.
View original i24news publication at: http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/76493-150628-you-strayed-off-the-course-to-syria-israel-slams-hypocrisy-of-gaza-flotilla