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article imageIsraeli troops board Gaza activist aid ship MV Rachel Corrie

By Christopher Szabo     Jun 5, 2010 in Travel
Tel Aviv - Israeli soldiers have boarded and taken control of a ship attempting to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israeli troops successfully boarded the Irish ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, and did not meet any resistance.
The BBC reports the Rachel Corrie is now steaming for the Israeli port of Ashdod. No communications have been received from activists on board. The Irish Times said the ship was close to the Gaza shore. An Israeli spokesperson said:
"The ship has been boarded and there was full compliance from the crew and passengers on board.”
The vessel is likely being piloted by Israeli naval members and an Israeli ship’s pilot, in order to guide it into the port, which is standard international naval practice.
The report said the ship had been shadowed by Israeli naval vessels
The humanitarian vessel is now being escorted to the Israeli port of Ashdod. Activists on board also reported their equipment was being jammed by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign spokesperson Jenny Graham, on board the ship, said:
"We intend to continue on our mission to deliver our cargo of aid and supplies to the people of Gaza. This has always been our intention."
Former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday and a Nobel peace laureate, Mairéad Maguire, both from Ireland, as well as three other Irish and six Malaysian activists are on board the ship. Israeli authorities say they will transfer the aid material to the Gaza Strip via the usual land routes after checking the cargo for contraband.
Meanwhile the STRATFOR intelligence group reports an Israeli claim it has found evidence of firearms aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, which was boarded by Israeli marine commandos Monday. The report claimed Israeli investigators found gun sights and cartridge magazines that were not IDF weapons.
The IDF also said it identified one of the Marmara passengers as a ringleader of a mercenary group recruited from Turkey.
The claim has not been independently verified.
Autopsy reports found that some dead activists on the Marmara had been shot up to 30 times.
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