Israel has intercepted the only vessel bound for Gaza and is repatriating those on board to home countries including Canada, France and other destinations. The interception of the luxury French yacht was without incident.
The Israeli Ha’aretz newspaper reported an Israeli Interior source saying all 15 would be flown home by the end of Wednesday, 20 July.
Sabine Haddad said marines of the Shayetet 13 naval commando had boarded the yacht and faced no resistance.The unit was the same as that which intercepted the previous fleet and boarded the Mavi Marmara, whose activists did resist and the resulting violence caused nine activist deaths and numerous injuries. Seven Israeli soldiers were also injured.
An Israeli military statement said:
"In accordance with government directives, after all diplomatic channels had been exhausted and continuous calls to the vessel had been ignored, IDF (marines) boarded the (Dignité) Karame in an effort to stop it from breaking the maritime security blockade on the Gaza Strip."CNN reported that the vessel, the luxury yacht Dignité was a part of “Freedom Flotilla II”, a group of ships aiming to sail to Israeli-blockaded Gaza in an attempt to raise public awareness of the blockade and the plight of the people of Gaza.
The territory is ruled by Hamas, a Muslim extremist organisation listed as a “terrorist group” by the USA and most Western nations.
The other vessels in the flotilla had sailed to Greek ports but were prevented from sailing by the countries authorities.
Hamas has called the Israeli move an act of: "Piracy, a war crime and a violation of the principles of human rights."
Hamas said "world silence" was the reason Israel was able to intercept the Freedom Flotilla ship.