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Israel warns it will intercept Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla

Israel has warned that it will intercept the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla III, which is to set off from Greek seaports this week, Israeli TV Channel 2 revealed last night.

According to the Palestinian Safa news agency, which reported the news, the Freedom Flotilla’s ships are currently between Italy and Greece. It said that the Israeli army pledged it would intercept them and stop them from arriving in Gaza.

The alliance of the Freedom Flotilla III announced that it would set off from Greek seaports towards the besieged Gaza Strip this week.

Member of the European Campaign for Lifting the Siege, Rami Abdu, told Safa yesterday that the Flotilla had faced “no obstacles” to date.

The last Freedom Flotilla, led by Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara, was attacked in international waters by Israeli forces on May 31, 2010, as they tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish activists were killed and 30 other people injured, including one activist who died nearly four years after being critically injured. The raid raised tensions between Israel and Turkey, which recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv.

Earlier this year, Judge Jose de la Mata of Spain’s National Court has announced the end of the investigation into the attack by Israeli commandos on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid flotilla, and has recommended the government to refer it to the International Criminal Court.

Israel previously stated that it would not allow “unauthorised boats” to enter the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon described the action as “unnecessary provocation”. He added: “If the so-called helpful Gaza flotillas were really interested in the welfare of the population in Gaza, they would send their aid via Israel.”


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