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Dublin: 20 °C Thursday 6 August, 2020

Israeli forces board flotilla as protesters ask Irish government to intervene

The MV Saoirse was one of two ships trying to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

Activists show their support for the two boats which are attempting to break the blockade on Gaza
Activists show their support for the two boats which are attempting to break the blockade on Gaza
Image: AP Photo/Adel Hana

ISRAELI FORCES HAVE boarded two protests boats – one of them Irish – which were attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza strip.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had warned the flotilla to either turn around or else dock in Egypt or Israel to avoid confrontation. When the ships continued on the mission to reach Gaza, the head of the IDF ordered naval forces to board both ships, reports Haaretz.

Israel will not allow ships to reach Gaza, saying it is in order to prevent weapons from entering the occupied territory.

Nobody was injured during the boarding of the ships, which were then taken to dock in an Israeli port. The boats were in international waters when the Israeli military intercepted.

The Irish Ship to Gaza campaign has asked the Irish government to intervene and issued an urgent statement to the Israeli government warning against any harm to the passengers aboard the MV Saoirse.

The two boats are carrying 27 passengers along with medical aid. Among those on board the MV Saoirse were Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy, former Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrew and former Ireland rugby player Trevor Hogan.

Israel has vigorously defended its right to maintain a blockade on Gaza despite fierce international criticism.

The Israeli embassy in Dublin called the flotilla “a provocative publicity stunt that serves no practical purpose”.

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