Published: Tue, July 31, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Hamas chief slams Israeli seizure of Gaza-bound ship

Hamas chief slams Israeli seizure of Gaza-bound ship

Activists point to worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza and say the blockade amounts to collective punishment of the two million Palestinians living there.

Israeli troopers entered Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest shrine in Islam, and carried out arrests Friday in what police described as a pursuit of youths who had lobbed rocks and fireworks during clashes with its forces outside.

The boat was en route to Gaza with 22 people from 16 nations on board and carrying a cargo of €13,000 ($15,000) worth of medical supplies.

Israel will not agree to such a "return", which would see a Palestinian majority outnumbering Jews and effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.

Shortly before the Al-Awda, a fishing boat, was intercepted, the coalition released a statement saying the Israeli navy was issuing warnings to it.

Speaking of the seizure of the Al Awda, the flotilla organizers said: "A military attack on a civilian vessel is a violent act and a violation of worldwide law".

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists in the Mavi Marmara boat convoy in worldwide waters.

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Last Friday, four Palestinians, including three Hamas militants, and an Israeli soldier were also killed in one of the most violent rounds of tension between the two sides since Israel's recent war on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.

As in previous attempts to breach the blockade, the ships were expected to be stopped at sea by the Israeli navy and taken to an Israeli port. It was the first public attempt to break out of the blockade and not into it.

Israel says it is crucial to prevent Hamas, a group sworn to Israel's destruction, from arming.

In September 2010, Turkey suspended its military ties with Israel and expelled the Israeli envoy from Ankara over Tel Aviv's refusal to apologize for the killing.

Their sailing boat was halted by the Israeli navy and taken to Ashdod, about 30km north of Gaza, and the women were detained before being deported.

The flotilla was part of the "Great March of Return", weekly demonstrations in Gaza that began on March 30 to protest the blockade. The Israeli regime also carries out regular air raids on the coastal enclave under the pretext of hitting positions belonging to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

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