IDF Stops ‘Reverse’ Palestinian Flotilla From Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
People ride boats as Palestinians prepare to sail a ship toward Europe aiming to break Israel’s maritime blockade on Gaza, Tuesday. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

The IDF seized two boats with 17 provocateurs that were launched from the Gaza Strip Tuesday in an attempt to break Israel’s partial maritime blockade.

The boats were launched as part of the “reverse” flotilla, an attempt to copy efforts by prior flotillas which attempted to force their way to the Gaza Strip by running the blockade in the opposite direction, toward Europe.

The IDF also sent medical forces to treat any sick or injured people who may have been on board the boats.

The boats will be towed to the naval base in Ashdod.

The two fishing boats carrying students and medical patients set sail out of Gaza City’s port, aiming to reach Cyprus and break the naval blockade that Egypt and Israel imposed after Hamas seized power in Gaza. Hamas acknowledged it was mostly a symbolic act.

It also marks eight years since Israeli commandos raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine pro-Palestinian Turks and sparking an international outcry against the blockade.

Israel said that the naval blockade on Gaza is to prevent weapons from being transferred into the hands of terrorists in Gaza, including the ruling Hamas organization.