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French boat leaves Greece for Gaza as flotilla activists detained

Pro-Palestinian group says vessel left Greece early yesterday Morning and has reached international waters.

French and Palestinian flags flying on a ship moored in Piraeus yesterday.
French and Palestinian flags flying on a ship moored in Piraeus yesterday.
Image: AP Photo/Darko Bandic

A FRENCH protest group claims one of its ships has left Greek waters and is heading towards Gaza in an effort to breach Israel’s blockade.

A spokesperson for the pro-Palestinian group said today that the group had reached international waters en route to the Gaza Strip after leaving a port near Athens early yesterday morning.

It is the only boat linked to an international flotilla which has managed to continue its journey towards the Israeli-blockaded coast. The Greek government prevented several boats from leaving its ports over the weekend. Three activists were arrested after Greek authorities blocked a Canadian vessel from sailing to Gaza.

All 35 passengers on board claimed to be the ship’s captain when it was stormed by Greek authorities in an effort to avoid arrest.

Yesterday, four Irish activists returned home after their ship suffered damage while anchored in Turkey last week. The group claims their ship, the MV Saoirse, was sabotaged to prevent their participation in the international aid flotilla.

Israel has denied any involvement in the ship’s damage or in damage reported by a second vessel which was also due to take part in the flotilla.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read and watch: All 35 passengers on stormed Canadian Gaza boat claimed to be its captain >

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