Israeli Navy boards Irish ship bound for Gaza blockade, 14 arrested - VIDEO
Members of the Israel navy boarded the Irish vessel “Saoirse” attempting to reach Gaza on Friday, in what authorities have described as a peaceful take over. A Canadian ship was also boarded.
Fourteen Irish activists spent the night in an Israelii prison and are expected to be deported today.
Former rugby international player Trevor Horgan, among those believed to be held, texted supporters in Ireland and said: "Kidnapped, being held against our will, boat nearly destroyed by Israeli army in international waters, need Government to press for release."
The Israeli government however, strongly disagreed and said the boats were “attempting to break the maritime security blockade that is in place in accordance with international law."
The two vessels, MV Tahrir (Canadian) and the MV Saoirse repeatedly ignored calls to divert from the Israeli port of Ashdod, according to the country’s military.
"The decision was made to board the vessels and lead them there," the military said in a statement.
Those on board were handed over to the police and immigration officials in Israel. The two ships set sail from Turkey last Tuesday as part of their campaign called “Freedom Waves For Gaza."
Read More: News from Ireland
Meanwhile in Ireland, Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore is being urged to intervene in the Israel interception of the Irish vessel.
Sinn Fein foreign affairs spokesman Padraig MacLochlainn, urged Gilmore to seek the immediate release of the crew.
"He must ensure that the human and civil rights of Irish citizens, who are now in Israeli custody, are protected, and that Irish consular assistance is provided immediately upon arrival to the Israeli port of Ashdod," he said.
He added: "This outrageous defiance of Israel to international law is becoming habitual and appears to be without consequence. It makes a laughing stock of international legal conventions."
A spokesman for the Israel Embassy in Dublin described the Gaza-bound mission as a “provocative publicity stunt that serves no practical purpose."
"Israel’s arms blockade of Gaza is perfectly legal and in accordance with international law. This has most recently been confirmed by the Palmer Committee appointed by the UN to examine the matter,” he told the Irish Times.
IDF Soldiers board the vessels en-route to the Gaza Strip:
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