Tuesday 23 January 2018

Takeover of ships bound for Gaza 'dangerous'

Paul Melia and Sarah Stack

ACTIVISTS trying to break the naval blockade of Gaza have claimed their arrest by the Israeli military in the Mediterranean was "violent and dangerous".

Two crew members of the 'MV Saoirse', part of the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign, last night spoke of being drenched by high-pressure hoses before being deprived of sleep while in custody.

Socialist MEP Paul Murphy and co-ordinator Dr Fintan Lane, who are among 14 Irish nationals awaiting deportation from Israel, made the allegations in telephone calls to supporters yesterday afternoon.

Dr Lane said the takeover of the 'MV Saoirse' on Friday took about three hours, with Israeli forces surrounding them and the 'MV Tahrir', also on the humanitarian mission, before high-pressure hoses were turned on passengers.

"I was hosed down the stairs of the boat," Dr Lane said. "Windows were smashed and the bridge of the boat nearly caught fire. The method used was dangerous to human life."

The boats were towed to the port of Ashdod by Israeli military, which described the incident as a "peaceful takeover".

Mr Murphy said people on board were shackled and deprived of their belongings.

Last night, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said he was closely monitoring the situation.

Irish Independent

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