'Free Gaza' Boat Capsized

The boat used by the leftist Free Gaza organization to challenge Israel's sovereignty over Gaza waters capsized on Monday.

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Avraham Zuroff , | updated: 8:27 AM

Free Gaza ship setting sail from Crete
Free Gaza ship setting sail from Crete
Israel News Photo: (Free Gaza Movement)

A boat used by the leftist "Free Gaza" organization to challenge Israel's sovereignty over Gaza waters capsized on Monday. The ship, Dignity, was used “to protest the embargo” imposed by the IDF as a means of preventing Hamas terrorists from importing weaponry.

The group’s spokesperson, Ramzi Kysia, said that the 66-foot (20 meter) length boat capsized due to poor weather conditions. He added that he does not suspect that the boat was sabotaged in any way.

On December 29, two days after the IDF launched its counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the Dignity set out from Cyprus, heading for the war zone with the stated mission of attempting to deliver 3.5 tons of medical supplies to its residents.

The boat was forced to turn back after a confrontation with Israeli naval vessels off the coast of Gaza. The movement claimed that Israeli warships rammed their vessel, and then fired machine guns in the water, a charged that Israel denied.

Israeli officials said the boat failed to respond to Israeli naval radio contact and attempted to avoid the warships while entering a closed military area. A representative of Free Gaza at the time stated that the boat managed to return to Cyprus, with slight damage.

Since the incident, only superficial repairs were made to the boat, according to Kysia, who explained that repairs had been held up because negotiations with an Egyptian shipper had not been completed by the time the boat set sail.

The group said it intends to send another boat to Gaza on July 1 but did not specify which vessel would hit the high seas.

On April 13, an unmanned terror boat loaded with explosives blew up near the Gaza coast, apparently exploding prematurely. 

According to the IDF, Navy personnel spotted the boat and observed it for approximately an hour before using artillery to fire at it about 300 yards from the northern Gaza coast. The artillery fire set off the explosion, according to the IDF.



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