Israel seizes seventh ship bound for Gaza

Israel naval forces on Saturday seized a seventh ship (the Rachel Corrie pictured below) carrying aid to the Gaza Strip in less than one week, putting an end to the latest attempt by pro-Palestinian activists to break the blockade on the embattled coastal territory.

The Rachel Corrie, named after the activist murdered by the IDFThis time, the raid by Israeli naval commandos ended without bloodshed, the military said. “Naval commandos boarded the ship attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip a short while ago with the full compliance of the ship’s crew members,” the army said in a statement issued Saturday. It added that the boat, the MV Rachel Corrie, would be taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection.

“According to initial reports, there was no violence or injuries amongst the soldiers or the crew,” the Israeli military added.

Kevin Squires, the national co-ordinator of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Dublin, told the Reuters news agency: “This has been another brazen act of Israeli piracy on the High Seas.”

On Monday, Israeli naval commandos assaulted six ships carrying about 10,000 tonnes of aid to the Gaza Strip, in an operation that left nine activists dead and many more wounded. The incident has caused worldwide anger at Israel, and sparked renewed calls for Israel to end its siege of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Israel says its soldiers – who assaulted the ships in international waters – opened fire only after coming under attack from passengers armed with clubs and knives. Several passengers have since dismissed the Israeli version of events.