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Israel Prevents French Ship from Running Blockade

8:08 AM, Jul 19, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Israeli navy prevented a French ship called the Dignity from running its blockade of Gaza today, according to news reports in the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz. "The Dignity was carrying 17 pro-Palestinian activists. It was part of the Free Gaza Movement’s flotilla that was canceled earlier this month after Greece refused to allow the ships to leave its ports for the Gaza Strip," the Jerusalem Post reports.

The boat was able to leave the Greek harbor only after its captain lied about its destination, telling authorities that the ships final destination was Alexandria, Egypt. 

Preventing the radical activists from reaching Gaza seems to have gone smoothly, according to Haaretz:

An Israel Defense Forces official confirmed that the Israel Navy contacted the yacht, and warned it that it is nearing a blockaded area. Defense establishment sources stressed that they would not allow any kind of vessels to dock in the Gaza Strip, so any ship trying to break the blockade would be intercepted.

Following the quick interception of the vessel, the IDF sailed it to the Ashdod port where the passengers will be taken into police custody and handled by Israeli immigration authorities.

The IDF spokesperson stressed that the order to intercept the ship was issued only after the passengers repeatedly refused to answer the demands of the navy and stop sailing toward Gaza. According to the IDF spokesperson, none of the passengers were hurt and IDF soldiers offered the passengers food and beverages following the interception.

The activists indicated that more ships will soon follow. 

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