JERUSALEM — The Israeli Navy made its first contact with a flotilla carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists and thousands of tons of supplies for Gaza shortly before midnight on Sunday, surprising the boats in international waters, according to activists on one vessel.
Israel has vowed not to let the flotilla reach the shores of Gaza, where the Islamic militant group Hamas holds sway, putting the activists and the Israelis on a public relations collision course.
Named the Freedom Flotilla, and led by the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement and a Turkish organization, Insani Yardim Vakfi, the convoy of six cargo and passenger boats is the most ambitious attempt yet to break Israel’s three-year blockade of Gaza.
Two television stations reported early Monday that Israeli warships had attacked the ships, killing at least two and wounding an unknown number of people on board, according to The Associated Press. The Israeli military refused to comment on the reports.
Three Israeli Navy missile boats left the Haifa naval base in northern Israel a few minutes after 9 p.m. Sunday, planning to intercept the flotilla.
Speaking by satellite phone early Sunday from the Challenger 1 boat, which has foreign legislators and other high-profile figures on board, a Free Gaza Movement leader, Huwaida Arraf, said: “We communicated to them clearly that we are unarmed civilians. We asked them not to use violence.”
Earlier Sunday, Ms. Arraf said the boats would keep trying to move forward “until they either disable our boats or jump on board.”
Organizers of the flotilla had said they expected to confront the Israelis on Monday morning, in an effort to avoid an encounter in the dark.
Israel is clearly losing it. I've also read elsewhere of American citizens being under fire (don't know how reliable that is).
This whole situation is getting out of control. Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes on what seems like a weekly basis (November, January, April). Recent reports of child abuse by Israeli army during torture. Israeli diplomat being kicked out of Australia over Australian passport forgeries used in an assassination. Nuclear subs placed off the coast of Iran.
Seriously, WTF is going on?
Apparently it is now 16 killed and 30 injured
Thanks for the -1, at least I have confirmation people do exist who would do this.
Edited by РэдФаркер, 31 May 2010 - 12:10 AM.