A French ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists was seized off the coast of the Gaza strip by Israeli naval forces after its captain ignored radio calls to change course.
Sixteen people were reported to be aboard the French-flagged yacht Dignite/Al Karama, including three crew members and three journalists. No resistance was encountered as the ship was boarded reports say.
Nine Turkish activists were killed aboard a ship that attempted to break the naval blockade last year when Israeli forces boarded the boat.
The Israeli navy says the blockade exists to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas terrorists that occupy the Gaza strip on the border with Israel.
The activists say they had no aid or weapons on board and were only trying to make a political statement about Israeli-Palestinian relations.
The France-based Platform Palestine group, one of the organizers, said the Israeli takeover “clearly shows the military logic of Israeli politics, which only speaks the language of force.”
Critics say the Israeli’s naval blockade has only punished the country’s 1.6 million people and has done nothing to weaken the militant group Hamas.