IDF statement reports the 13 female activists were detained without incident, with their boat now en route to Ashdod Port.
The Israeli Navy on Wednesday intercepted an all-female flotilla carrying over a dozen women activists from 13 different countries attempting to breach the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, the military confirmed.
An official military statement said that the “search of the vessel was uneventful” and that it had repeatedly advised the vessel to change course before taking action. “Following their refusal the Navy visited and searched the vessel in international waters,” the military said.
Al-Jazeera reported earlier that Israel was jamming the boat’s communication signals.
Israeli media, quoting unnamed officials, reported in recent days that the navy will intercept the boat and escort it to the Israeli port of Ashdod to prevent it from reaching Gaza.
The Zaytouna-Oliva is one of two vessels that set sail from Barcelona in September.
“We think that through this act organized by women, we can give more visibility to the important role of Palestinian women in the fight for freedom,” said Zohar Chamberlain, one of the organizers, just before two yachts left the Spanish Mediterranean city.
Chamberlain, an Israeli living in Spain, told AFP she felt she had a “double duty” to denounce the land, sea and air blockade imposed in 2006 on Gaza, which is controlled by Islamist group Hamas.
Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006 but it was tightened in 2007 after the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas seized control in the tiny enclave.
Israel says its maritime, land and sea blockade of Gaza is aimed at preventing Hamas from receiving supplies which could be used for military purposes.
(Staff with AFP)
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