Israel returning Turkish flotilla ships


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will hand over to Turkish officials the flotilla vessels that tried to violate Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.

Three Turkish towing ships arrived in Israel on Thursday morning to take the ships, which have been anchored in Israeli ports since the May 31 interception by Israel’s Navy, back to Turkey. The personal equipment aboard the vessels also will be returned.

The ships were part of a six-ship flotilla carrying activists and humanitarian aid that was intercepted in international waters off the coast of Gaza. The boarding by Israeli commandos of one of the ships, the Marmara, sparked violent clashes that led to the deaths of nine Turkish nationals, including one dual Turkish-American citizen. 

Israel’s Foreign Ministry, in a letter to Turkish officials, said it expects Turkey to prevent other Turkish ships from attempting to violate the Gaza blockade. 

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