Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Israel seizes second activist ship attempting to break Gaza siege

Israel seizes second activist ship attempting to break Gaza siege

Since March 30, major Palestinian protests along the Gaza-Israel border have led to frequent clashes, with Israeli snipers firing on protesters burning tires and throwing stones.

Twenty-nine fires erupted in Israeli communities ‎near the Gaza Strip border in a single day this week, as Palestinian ‎arson terrorism continued to wreak havoc near the ‎volatile frontier.

Hamas' spokesman Abdullatif al-Qanu stressed that the group's decision to join the "right to return" march showed the Hamas' alignment with Palestinian people. It says the delegation arriving from exile late Thursday included Saleh Arouri, a founder of the Hamas military wing wanted by Israel.

Israel insists its blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008.

Some flew kites with burning rags attached - a tactic that has widened in recent weeks, with the aim of setting fires in Israel, and has drawn Israeli retaliation.

At the same time, one Palestinian demonstrator was reported to have been killed by the Israeli military and 220 injured, many from live ammunition.

The strike was carried out by an IDF tank after several Palestinians infiltrated into Israel from southern Gaza, and hurled firebombs and an explosive device in the border fence area, said the Israeli army, Xinhua reported.

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Hamas has already hinted that it has not objected to the details of the agreement, but called for amendments, especially concerning a waterway linking the Gaza Strip with Egypt or Cyprus.

Hamas officials have said guarantees were given that the delegation would not be targeted by Israel and that progress has been made toward a truce that could pave the way for a United Nations -led reconstruction of Gaza.

On Friday Ezzat al-Rishaq, a member of the Hamas political office, told protesters along the border they were "committed to calm".

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella group for pro-Palestinian and Islamic charities from around the world, said Friday the Swedish-flagged vessel, Freedom, was almost 60 miles (95 kilometers) off the coast.

The 12 activists on-board the "Freedom for Gaza" boat were attempting to bring urgently needed medical supplies to Gaza, when the vessel was intercepted by the Israeli navy in worldwide waters.

"The ship was monitored and was intercepted in accordance with worldwide law", the Israeli military claimed.

Freedom was the second boat of the "Freedom Flotilla" to be intercepted en route to "break the blockade" on Gaza, the organisers said.

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