Sunday 21 July 2019

Gaza Flotilla activist in hospital

Al Mahdi Al Harati, an Irish national injured in Israel's deadly naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, arrives in Ankara, Turkey
Al Mahdi Al Harati, an Irish national injured in Israel's deadly naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, arrives in Ankara, Turkey

A group of Irish activists seized during the Israeli storming of a Gaza aid flotilla were expected to return home on Thursday.

The men are set to touch down in Dublin Airport on an early morning flight from Istanbul after authorities released hundreds of detainees held following the deadly military-led action.

One of the Irish citizens, Al Mahdi al Harati, had his journey delayed after he became ill and was taken to hospital in the Turkish city of Ankara.

The father-of-four, originally from Libya, suffers from diabetes and an underlying heart condition and is not thought to have been wounded in Monday's attack.

Among the other Irish citizens released are leading activists Fintan Lane and Fiachra O Luain, and Australian journalist Paul McGeough.

The first Irish campaigner to return home, Dubliner Shane Dillon, called on the world to stand united against Israel and impose sanctions.

The 36-year-old accused armed forces of destroying footage of the assault by damaging equipment owned by journalists before physically attacking activists with stun guns and paintball pellets.

Meanwhile one of the last boats in the Gaza mission, the Irish-owned MV Rachel Corrie is continuing its journey to the Israeli-imposed exclusion zone.

Foreign affairs minister Micheal Martin has said Irish officials have continued to make it clear to the Israeli Government, through its ambassador in Dublin, that maximum restraint is to be used on the vessel.

PA Media

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