Israel intercepts Gaza aid convoy

Justin Stares | LLOYD’S LIST

AT LEAST 10 people were reported killed and many injured on Monday following the interception by the Israeli army of a convoy carrying aid to the Gaza Strip.

The incident is reported to have happened in international waters.

The convoy flagship was reported to be the 4,142 gt Mavi Marmara, a 1,500 passenger capacity vessel. According to the Equasys database, Mavi Marmara was recently sold, although there are no details as to who currently owns the vessel. Equasys lists the previous owner as IHH Insan Hak ve Hurriyetleri.

Other vessels in the convoy included the 1,205 dwt, 1967-built Rachel Corrie, thought to be controlled by the Free Gaza Movement, a campaign group.

The convoy, carrying pro-Palestinian activists departed from Sarayburnu port in Istanbul on May 22, according to Reuters.

Israel says its forces were attacked with knives, axes, metal bars and gunfire, while protesters said there had been passive resistance. Israel claims it wanted to stop the convoy from breaking a blockade of Gaza.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen demanded an investigation as speculation mounted that the death toll could rise further.

“The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities,” Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel’s Army Radio, according to a Bloomberg report.

Isreali Defense Forces issued a statement which said the ships were told to head toward Ashdod port “where they would be able to unload their aid supplies which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections”.

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