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Activist boat heading for Gaza intercepted

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Navy intercepted a boat heading to Gaza carrying medical supplies and peace activists.

A Navy force boarded and took control of the boat Tuesday after it entered Gazan coastal waters, according to an Israel Defense Forces spokesman. The force directed the boat toward the port at Ashdod; no shots were fired during the incident.

The crew will be turned over to the proper authorities and the humanitarian goods on board will be transferred to Gaza, according to the spokesman.

The Navy had contacted the boat at sea Monday night and said it would not be permitted to enter Gazan coastal waters due to the blockade, the spokesman said.

It was the first boat sponsored by the Free Gaza Movement that attempted to break the naval blockade since Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

The boat, which left Monday, is carrying 21 activists, including former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Ann McKinney (D-Ga.) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, Ynet reported. It was scheduled to reach Gaza Tuesday afternoon.

On June 25, Cyprus prevented two Free Gaza Movement boats filled with aid and activists from leaving for Gaza.

Since last August, the group has made seven aid voyages to Gaza. Free Gaza is planning three trips to the coastal strip this summer. 
 

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