Israel navy takes over Gaza-bound ship

Israeli troops on Saturday boarded a boat carrying pro-Palestinian MPs and activists seeking to run its naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, blocking the latest attempt to reach the enclave by sea, the military said.

The operation, which the military said was concluded peacefully, ended the latest bid by activists to breach Israel’s tight maritime embargo on Gaza which prohibits all naval traffic in and out of the Palestinian coastal territory.

“A short while ago, Israeli navy soldiers boarded (the MV) Estelle, a vessel which was en route to the Gaza Strip, attempting to break the maritime security blockade,” the military said in a statement, indicating the Finnish-flagged vessel was being led to Ashdod port in southern Israel.

“There was no violence,” a military spokeswoman told AFP, saying troops had taken control of the 53-metre vessel. “The passengers did not resist.”

On board the ship are 17 passengers, among them five parliamentarians from Europe and a former Canadian lawmaker, organisers said. It was also carrying a shipment of humanitarian aid.

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