New Flotilla Heading for Gaza

The Israeli Navy is tracking two ships, believed be part of a new flotilla to Gaza, that departed Wednesday from Turkey headed for the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF spokesperson.

The IDF intends to intercept the vessels if they continue on their course.

According to information obtained by security services, the two ships left Turkey after announcing their intentions to sale to Rhodes. There is no information presently that indicates Turkish involvement in the flotilla.

The passengers on the two ships - a small ship named “Al-Tahrir” and a yacht named “the Saoirse” are believed to be activists in two pro-Palestinian organizations from Ireland and Canada.

The Tahrir is carrying twelve Canadians, Americans, Australians, and Palestinians. The fifteen passengers on the second vessel are from Ireland.

According to IDF estimates, judging by the speed of the ships and the conditions at sea, the IDF estimates that the ships will arrive in Gaza between Thursday night and early Friday morning.

The Israeli Navy intends to radio the ships and offer them to dock and unload equipment at the port in Ashdod or in an Egyptian port. A senior defense official said Wednesday that “in any case, we will not let them reach Gaza. The naval blockade is legal and was even recently approved by the Palmer committee. This is an incident that is intended mainly to draw media attention,” he said.

The first Gaza flotilla set sail from Turkey in May 2010. The six-vessel convoy had the intention of breaking through a comprehensive blockade Israel had placed on the coastal territory.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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