Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pirates of the Eastern Mediterranean at Work: Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship


"A Lebanese boat carrying more than 60 tonnes of aid for Gaza has been fired upon by Israeli troops off the coast of Gaza.

Al Jazeera's correspondent aboard the Al-Ikhwa (The Brotherhood) ship said five Israeli soldiers then boarded the ship, beating and threatening the crew. "They are pointing guns against us - they are kicking us and beating us. They are threatening our lives," Al Jazeera's Salam Khoder said.

Communication with the ship was then lost.

According to the owner of the ship, the Israelis destroyed its communication equipment and confiscated the phones of those on board.

The Israeli military told Al Jazeera it had captured the Lebanese vessel and taken it to Ashdod, where authorities were examining the ship's contents. The crew, meanwhile, has been taken into police custody. The Brotherhood sailed from the Lebanese port city of Tripoli on Tuesday.

Foud Siniora, Lebanon's president, condemned the attack on the ship, emphasising that it was on a humanitarian mission to Gaza. He said Israel has been allowed to violate international law for too long and called for pressure to be put on it."

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