Hundreds of Gazans launch flotilla over naval blockade

Hundreds of Palestinians launched protest flotilla in protests of Israel-Egyptian blockade of Gaza but fail to make it to Israel

Hundreds of Palestinian youth activists sailed from the shores of the Gaza Strip on Monday to protest at Israel's restrictions on fishing in the seas off the Islamist-ruled enclave.


Around 20 Gaza fishing boats carrying several dozen activists claimed to have broken the naval blockade on the territory in a move denied by the Israeli military. The "resistance flotilla" was at sea for several hours before returning with the claim it had "broken" the blockade which bars fishing vessels from sailing six nautical miles from the shoreline.


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Israel eased the blockade somewhat in 2010 after an Israeli commando raid on a ship in an activist flotilla bent on reaching Gaza left nine Turks dead and raised an international uproar, but Palestinians say the gestures were not enough.


En route to Israel (Photo: EPA)
En route to Israel (Photo: EPA)


On Monday, Gaza's Coalition Intifada group said about 200 youths boarded fishing boats heading out of Gaza City toward the fishing zone boundary, before returning to shore. Organizers said some boats crossed the six-mile maritime limit.


Palestinian fishermen say they cannot meet demand in Gaza due to Israeli-Egyptian naval blockade on the territory and limit of six nautical miles (11 km) in which they can take out their boats off shore


Photo: EPA
Photo: EPA

"We have sent a message of solidarity with the fishermen and a message to the world that they must act to end the Gaza blockade," said Shorouq Mahmoud, the group's spokeswoman.


Palestinian activist (Photo: Facebook)
Palestinian activist (Photo: Facebook)


An Israeli military spokeswoman said none of the boats breached the fishing zone limit.


Israeli forces have regularly shot at Gaza boats seen as trying to breach the blockade.


Israel tightened its land blockade on Gaza after the Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007, a blockade which is also being enforced by Egypt on its side of the Gaza border.


Reuters and AFP contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 12.02.13, 18:34
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