Israel denies allegations of sabotage of Gaza-bound flotilla
Israel on Saturday denied allegations of sabotaging a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists, dpa reported.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor described the accusations as "ridiculous, paranoid," according to Ynet news online.
"The organizers didn't do the minimum required in order to prove that there was indeed sabotage; they didn't even file a complaint with the police. They live in a James Bond movie," Palmor was quoted as saying.
Greece's coastguard on Friday intercepted a boat carrying US activists within its territorial waters that was on its way to join the pro-Palestinian flotilla to Gaza, activists said.
The authorities had issued a sailing ban, saying that all ships with Greek and foreign flags bound for Gaza are prohibited from leaving Greek ports.
Activist Vangelis Pissias said the US boat, named The Audacity of Hope, had just left the Perama port, near Athens, when it was stopped by the Hellenic Coast Guard.
He said activists taking part in the international 10-ship flotilla will still try to leave Greek ports to break Israel's blockade of Gaza despite repeated delays that activists blame on Israeli sabotage.
The activists have rejected Israeli claims that they are carrying dangerous materials or that they planned to use violence against Israeli soldiers trying to stop them at sea.
Several hundred pro-Palestinian activists from Greece, Canada, the United States and other countries planned to board the 10 ships - including two cargo vessels - carrying almost 3,000 tons of aid, medicine, a fully equipped ambulance and cement to Gaza.
On May 31, 2010, Israel's interception of the Freedom Flotilla I turned violent when naval commandos clashed with activists wielding knives and iron bars.