Israel deports activists after Gaza blockade attempt

Israel deports activists after Gaza blockade attempt
2 min read
07 October, 2016
The all-women crew of a flotilla attempting to break Israel's decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip have left the country after being detained for two days.
The women sailed towards Gaza's shore before Israeli forces stepped in [Twitter]
Activists who attempted to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza by boat have been deported from Israel.

The all woman crew tried to sail to the shore of the occupied Palestinian territory but were intercepted by Israeli naval forces on Wednesday around 35 nautical miles from the coast.

"All the boat's passengers have left Israel except a woman who will fly to Oslo this afternoon," Israel's interior ministry spokeswoman Sabin Haddad told AFP.

Thirteen women, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, were detained after their sailboat attempted to breach the decade-long Israeli blockade of the enclave.

The boat, the Zaytouna-Oliva, was surrounded by an Israeli naval ship which asked them to change course. When they refused, the boat was escorted to the port of Ashdod and the women were arrested.

The mission was part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition which sends boats to Gaza in protest of Israel's restrictions on the enclave, which it says is necessary to prevent Hamas importing weapons.

An attempt to breach the cordon in 2010 turned to bloodshed when Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists in a raid on a flotilla.

UN officials have called for the blockade to be lifted, saying conditions are deteriorating in impoverished Gaza, home to 1.9 million people.