One of the vessels meant to reach Gaza
Photo: AFP

Gaza-bound flotilla underway

French ship which departed Saturday apparently skipped Athens stop, en route to rendezvous. Jordanian activists say they purchased additional ship for $800,000

French ship Dignity which departed for the rendezvous with vessels participating in the Gaza flotilla on Saturday has apparently decided to skip the Athens stop and is en route to Gaza. Flotilla organizers refused to officially confirm the ship is approaching the region and are maintaining secrecy.



Jordanian activists said they purchased an additional ship for $805,000 which could carry as many as 200 activists. It was said it will carry 35 Jordanian activists. The organizers said that the flotilla will set sail on Thursday but noted there may be delays.  


Various reports concerning the Irish ship have also surfaced. Several elements claimed that it was heading towards the rendezvous point but soon retracted their statements. It is apparently docking at an undisclosed port in the Mediterranean to avoid delays in Greece.


"One ship was damaged and two others are being detained over bureaucratic claims," Hawida Araf of the Free Gaza movement told Ynet. "We will pass the checks as these ridiculous claims are baseless. The ships have already been checked."


The organizers say that claims against the American ship and the Greek-Swedish ship are causing the delays in Greece. The activists maintain that Israel sabotaged one ship which resulted in heavier security.


"The damage was done underwater with a machine that can cut through steel. It could not have happened accidentally. I can't say Israeli soldiers did it, but who else wants to stop us?," Araf said.

Ship organizers claim was sabotaged (Photo: EPA)


She noted that they have boosted security measures.


Meanwhile, the organizers are disappointed in the limited turnout. Less than 300 are expected to board the flotilla ships.


According to the organizers, the Italian ship Stefano Chiarim will carry the most passengers with 65 people; Canadian ship Tahrir will carry 48 passengers and the American vessel, which is currently detained in Greece, will carry 40 passengers.


An additional seven ships are expected to depart from Spain, France, Ireland, Greece, Sweden and Norway. Organizers expect 292 participants and 36 members of the press. It is highly likely not all of the vessels will be fit to travel.


Meanwhile, two reserve soldiers filed a criminal lawsuit against 14 foreigners who participated in last year's flotilla with the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.


Aviad Glickman contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 06.29.11, 13:53
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