Greeks Ban Flotilla Boats From Leaving for Gaza

By Amira Hass and Barak Ravid (Haaretz)

Published July 01, 2011.

The Greek government on Friday reportedly banned the departure of ships from Greek ports to Gaza in a bid to block the planned “Freedom Flotilla.”

The Greek government stressed that local Hellenic Coast Guard Authorities must take all appropriate measures to implement the decision, according to Reuters. It also warned that the broader maritime area of the eastern Mediterranean Sea will be continuously monitored by electronic means for tracking the movement of ships trying to participate in the flotilla.

Naval authorities have already implemented the order, blocking both an American and Canadian ship planning to participate in the pro-Palestinian Gaza flotilla set to take place next week.

However, in light of Greece’s decision to block all ships heading to the strip, the flotilla has been delayed further.

American activists attempted to set sail from Greece toward Gaza on Friday aboard a boat dubbed “The Audacity of Hope”, defying calls from Israel to cancel and the ban by Athens.

Shortly after the boat left the port, Greek authorities stopped the boat, and negotiations are currently underway to determine whether the vessel can continue on its way despite the ban.

A reporter aboard the boat said it later returned to an Athens coast guard facility.

For more, go to Haaretz.com



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