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Israel navy intercepts Gaza-bound ships

JERUSALEM: The Israeli navy intercepted a six-ship Palestinian aid convoy sailing for the Gaza Strip on Monday and shooting had been heard, Israel Radio reported, quoting an unnamed Arab journalist on one vessel. At least one ship was boarded by Israeli troops backed by helicopters, the radio said in its report. CNN Turk television in...

SAMAA | - Posted: May 30, 2010 | Last Updated: 11 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: May 30, 2010 | Last Updated: 11 years ago

JERUSALEM: The Israeli navy intercepted a six-ship Palestinian aid convoy sailing for the Gaza Strip on Monday and shooting had been heard, Israel Radio reported, quoting an unnamed Arab journalist on one vessel.

At least one ship was boarded by Israeli troops backed by helicopters, the radio said in its report.

CNN Turk television in Turkey reported that two people had been killed and 30 wounded.

The convoy, led by a Turkish vessel with 600 people on board, set off in international waters off Cyprus on Sunday in defiance of an Israeli-led blockade of the Gaza Strip and warnings that it would be intercepted.

The flotilla was organised by pro-Palestinian groups and a Turkish human rights organisation. Turkey had urged Israel to allow it safe passage and said the 10,000 tonnes of aid the convoy was carrying was humanitarian.

Israel had said it would prevent the convoy from reaching the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Islamist Hamas group.

Israel and Egypt tightened a blockade on Gaza after Hamas took over the territory in 2007. Israel launched a devastating military offensive in Gaza in December 2008 with the aim of halting daily rocket fire towards its cities.

Most of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza rely on aid, blaming Israel for imposing restrictions on the amount and type of goods it allows into the territory.

The United Nations and Western powers have urged Israel to ease its restrictions to prevent a humanitarian crisis. They have been urging Israel to let in concrete and steel to allow for postwar reconstruction.

Israel denies there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, saying food, medicine and medical equipment are allowed in regularly.

It says the restrictions are necessary to prevent weapons and materials that could be used to make them from reaching Hamas. AGENCIES

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