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The Marmara2 Photo: IHH Website
The Marmara2 Photo: IHH Website
 
 

Navy: Flotilla won't breach blockade

Military readies for second Gaza-bound sail, says naval forces will not hesitate to stop vessels trying to violate maritime siege on Strip

Hanan Greenberg
Published: 05.31.11, 16:51 / Israel News

The IDF is gearing for the nearing Gaza-bound flotilla, set for June. A senior Navy source told Ynet on Tuesday that Israel's marine forces have learned a great deal from the tragic results of the first Gaza flotilla, and are readying for any scenario.

 

"We are anticipating and training for a variety of scenarios and our deployment will cover various aspects, not only operational ones. We aim to be ready for anything, even various surprises," the source said.

 

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The Navy, he added, "hopes the sail will be aborted, but at the end of the day, we will not allow vessels to breach the blockade on Gaza. We will be able to take control of the ships and stop them – if we have to," he stressed.

 

 

Earlier Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz addressed the nearing sail, saying that its organizers "are acting out of hate, with the intent to create provocation and agitate spirits, not out of any desire to assists Gaza's population."

 

The military stressed that any vessel trying to breach the maritime blockade would be stopped by the Navy. The future operation will include the Israeli Naval Commandos, as well as other IDF units, which have been holding joint exercises to that effect over recent weeks.

 

One of the Navy's goals – in case it has to take the ships – is to have forces board them expeditiously, thus giving them a tactical advantage that would allow them to control the vessels rather immediately.

 

The IDF is, however, gearing for extreme scenarios as well, such as the passengers assaulting the troops using weapons or explosives.

 

Israel, which is still trying to stop the intended sail with diplomatic measures, has suggested that the ships unload their goods either in an Israeli port or an Egyptian one, which will allow security forces to inspect the goods for any contrabands prior to shipping them to Gaza.

 

The second Gaza flotilla is scheduled to set sail to Gaza at the end of June. Some 15-20 vessels, carrying 1,250 people, are expected to take part in it. Turkey's IHH group is heading this flotilla, as it did the first.

 

 

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