Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Tensions rise as all-women Freedom Flotilla approaches the shores of Gaza


The all-women solidarity ship called “Zaytouna” has reportedly been intercepted and attacked by Israeli naval forces, according to live updates released by the group on social media.

As the solidarity ship, whose name means "olives" in Arabic, reached less than 70 nautical miles from the shores of Gaza, inside Israel’s unilaterally declared buffer zone -- or “military exclusion zone”-- the Freedom Flotilla coalition released a statement calling on “governments, public officials and people of conscience to support publicly the right of unimpeded passage for peaceful civilian navigation, and the physical integrity of the crew and participants on board, and to support full freedom of movement for all peoples, in particular the Palestinians of Gaza.”

Shortly after, activists lost contact with the ship, leading them to believe the ship was intercepted by Israeli naval forces. However, they regained contact with the ship about an hour later.

Some 20 minutes after regaining contact, the Freedom Flotilla posted a video on Twitter of Israeli naval forces leaving Israel’s Ashdod port to intercept the ship. Activists again lost contact with the ship and released a statement claiming that the ship was under attack, adding that they received “reports” that the ship was surrounded by Israeli naval forces.

The Zaytouna was expected to arrive in the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening after setting off from the shores of Barcelona, Spain last month as part of the larger Freedom Flotilla. more

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