IDF Naval Forces intercept int'l flotilla upon political leadership's order
Azerbaijan, Baku, May 31 / Trend /
Early this morning, IDF Naval Forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip according to the orders of the political leadership. The ships were not allowed to enter the enclave, and break the naval blockade, the Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan said.
During the intercept of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.
According to initial reports, these events resulted in over ten deaths among the demonstrators and numerous injured, in addition, more than four naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners are currently being evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.
In the coming hours, the ships will be directed to the Ashdod port, while IDF naval forces will perform security checks in order to identify the people on board the ships and their equipment. The IDF Spokesman conveys that this event is currently unfolding and further details will be provided as soon as possible.
The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod, the embassy said.
IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.
As a result, 16 people died and over 50 injured, while Israeli military sources confirm that ten people died.
The structure of "flotilla of freedom" consists of six vessels. They transported at least 600 human rights activists and 10,000 tons of humanitarian cargo to a blocked Palestinian enclave. Israel has previously banned the caravan to approach the Gaza Strip, threatening to escort vessels in one of its ports and deport them and transport humanitarian cargo to the Palestinians through the land border crossings after the appropriate check.