in-cyprus Israel seizes Swedish activist ship en route to Gaza

Israel seizes Swedish activist ship en route to Gaza

The Israeli navy seized a Swedish-flagged sailboat attempting to breach a blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip on Saturday, the military said.

The 12 passengers are mostly from Sweden but also from Germany, Britain, Spain, France and Canada. They are in custody and will be put on flights home, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Immigration Authority said.

The SY Freedom for Gaza was carrying mainly medical supplies and two of its passengers were journalists, said an organiser from a group named Ship to Gaza which organised the trip.

“Ship to Gaza demands that those who have been taken prisoner and the ship and its cargo are returned to the location where the ship was boarded and are allowed to continue their journey in international and Palestinian waters unmolested, in accordance with international law,” the group said in a statement.

Israel says its naval blockade of Gaza is intended to prevent weapons from reaching militant groups, including Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Palestinian enclave. Israel and the United States designate Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

“The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) clarified to the ship’s passengers that they are violating the legal naval blockade and that any humanitarian merchandise can be transferred to Gaza through the (Israeli) Port of Ashdod,” an Israeli military statement said.

More than two million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip, which suffers deep economic hardship.

U.N. and Egyptian-led efforts are under way to mediate a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas who have fought three wars since 2008.

Hamas officials had no immediate comment on the ship’s seizure. Similar attempts by activists to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza have been foiled before.

The most serious such incident was in 2010, when Israeli commandos raided a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, that was leading a flotilla to Gaza. Ten activists aboard were killed, leading to a major diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey.

Reuters

Top Stories

Where to get antigen rapid tests on Saturday

The Health Ministry announced the following antigen rapid test sites for Saturday, 23 January 2021: LIMASSOL Grigoris Afxentiou Square 08:30-16:30 Gafkos Clerides Park, Germasoyia 08:30-16:30 Municipal Hall Ypsonas...

Civil servants’ trade union requests psychological support for health professionals

PASYDY, the civil servants’ trade union requested psychological support for health professionals due to the consequences of COVID-19 on their health. The trade union noted...

Scientific advisory committee to convene on Monday under President Anastasiades

Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, will preside on Monday morning over a meeting of the scientific advisory committee on COVID-19. According to CNA information, during the...

Polish medics depart for Slovakia to help mass testing

A group of 200 Polish medics departed for neighbouring Slovakia on Friday (January 22) to help in a week-long testing campaign in the central...

Highest death toll of COVID-19 patients recorded in December

A total of 24 people diagnosed with COVID-19 died in the second week of 2021, corresponding to 11% of the total death toll since...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...