Press TV – The Israel navy has fired warning shots at a group of Palestinian fishing boats trying to break through the siege of the Gaza Strip, says flotilla organizers.
According to Adham Abu Selmeya on Saturday, the attempt was aimed at sending a message to all those involved in the ceasefire efforts
“We want the world to see the reality of the blockade and the suffering of the people of Gaza, and we will not accept anything less than lifting the blockade once and for all,” he stressed.
Some 20 boats had set sail from coastal enclave, However, around 30 minutes into their journey, the Israeli navy fired several shots at them forcing them to return.
The Palestinian Health Ministry announced that no one was injured during the incident.
Earlier in the month, a flotilla of vessels has left the Gaza Strip, joining an international campaign to break the Israeli siege of the coastal enclave.
The Israeli navy stopped also two Gaza-bound ships, which sought to carry aid to the coastal enclave.
One Norwegian-flagged boat was seized last Sunday, while the Swedish-flagged “Freedom for Gaza” was raided on Saturday and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Back in late May 2010, an Israeli raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, comprising six civilian ships, killed 10 Turkish activists in high seas and sent the Ankara-Tel Aviv ties into a tailspin.
Israel’s military raid against the civilian flotilla was met with global condemnation. The United Nations Security Council called for a prompt investigation into the incident and the United Nations Human Rights Council described the attack as “outrageous.”
Additionally, numerous attempts have been made throughout the years to draw the public attention to the ongoing siege of Gaza. From 2008 through 2016, international activists have sailed 31 ships and boats to challenge the Israeli naval blockade.
Israel has imposed movement restrictions on the Gaza Strip since the early 1990’s. Restrictions intensified in June 2007 when Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza, citing security concerns.
About 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza remain “locked in,” denied free access to the remainder of Palestine and the outside world. The blockade has undermined the living conditions in the coastal enclave and fragmented its economic and social fabric. The isolation of Gaza has been exacerbated by restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities on Rafah, its single passenger crossing.