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Israeli forces attack Freedom Flotilla near Gaza's shore

July 29, 2018 2:53 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 5, 2018 11:21 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces attacked one of the Freedom Flotilla ships on Sunday as it was approaching the shores of the besieged Gaza Strip and redirected its sail toward the southern Israeli seaport of Ashdod.

The Freedom Flotilla is a new flotilla made up of four ships, which intend on breaking Israel’s nearly 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza called upon the residents of Gaza to participate in the official welcoming reception of the Freedom Flotilla ship, which was to take place at noon at the fishermen’s port in Gaza City.

Adham Abu Salima, a spokesperson for the International Committee, confirmed the attack of Israeli naval forces on the Freedom Flotilla ship and that the committee has lost contact with the flotilla members.

Abu Salima added that 36 solidarity activists, including Israelis and Palestinians, from 15 various countries are onboard of the attacked ship.

Abu Salima also mentioned that before the attack, the flotilla members did not face any obstacles on their way.

One of the Freedom Flotilla ships was previously attacked by Israeli forces in international waters in 2010. The ship, which was carrying aid to Gaza, was attacked while being unarmed, killing 10 pro-Palestinian activists and injuring dozens of other peaceful activists.

Additionally, many attempts have been made throughout the years to draw the public’s attention to the on-going siege of Gaza. From 2008 through 2016, international activists have sailed 31 ships to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

MP Jamal al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, condemned Israeli forces for preventing the Freedom Flotilla from reaching Gaza, seizing the ship in international waters, and redirecting it to the Ashdod seaport.

He pointed out in a statement that the solidarity activists aboard the ship sailed towards Gaza peacefully and legally. He added that the ship’s planned arrival in Gaza is aimed at breaking the unjust siege and is a right guaranteed by international law.

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