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State Dept. warns against sea travel to Gaza

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. State Department "strongly urged" Americans not to travel to Gaza — a warning aimed at Americans joining a flotilla to break Israel’s naval blockade of the coastal strip.

"U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea," said the statement issued Wednesday. "Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens."

The reference is to the Gaza flotilla Israeli commandoes raided a year ago. Nine Turks, including one Turkish American, were killed in the melee.

At least 36 Americans are joining a flotilla set to sail Saturday from Athens.

"U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel," the State Department’s travel warning said. "The Government of Israel has announced its intention to seek ten-year travel bans to Israel for anyone participating in an attempt to enter Gaza by sea." 

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