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Israel prevents flotilla to break Gaza siege

Aug. 12, 2018 10:19 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 12, 2018 1:00 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces fired shots to prevent dozens of boats from reaching the Israeli maritime border to break the siege of Gaza on Saturday.

A flotilla consisting of about 40 boats set sail from the shores of the besieged Gaza Strip to the Israeli maritime border, between Gaza and Israel, as a part of the “March of Return” campaign to break the nearly 12-year Israeli siege and bring the world’s attention to the on-going conflict.

The organizers of the campaign said “The flotilla represents a message to the Palestinian factions involved in the peace agreement negotiation and we will not agree to any solution that will not lead to the lifting of Gaza blockade.”

The organizers stressed “We want the world to see the reality of the blockade and the suffering of the people of Gaza, and we will not accept anything less than lifting the blockade once and for all.”

According to local witnesses, once the boats started to approach the Israeli maritime border, Israeli naval forces fired at the them as a “warning” sign to remain far off the border.

Witnesses added that one of the Israeli Navy ships purposely accelerated in the sea, in order to create enormous waves. The flotilla, out of fear of turning over, withdrew back to the Gaza port.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that no one was injured during the incident.

Many attempts have been made throughout the years to draw the public’s attention to the on-going siege of Gaza. From 2008 through 2016, international activists have sailed 31 ships to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

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