Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Israel Turns Libyan Ship Away From Gaza; Uses No Force

The Israel Navy yesterday prevented the Libyan vessel "Marwa" from breaking the blockade around the Gaza Strip. The ship was carrying pro-Palestinian activists and a large supply of food and humanitarian aid. Israel had allowed three European ships carrying leftist activists to reach Gaza over the past three months. Security sources said the difference this time was that the ship was flying an enemy flag, was relatively large and could have been smuggling weapons.The recent escalation on the Gaza border may also have contributed to the decision. The sources said the navy used no force against the Libyan ship, but called over a loudspeaker for the vessel to leave the area, which it did, heading for Egypt. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday that Israel had "no intention of letting ships into the Gaza Strip," but that "portions" of humanitarian aid were being allowed through "to preserve a minimum standard of living in the Strip."

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