The Israeli navy on Saturday seized a ship, Freedom, that was attempting to break the illegal naval blockade imposed by Tel Aviv on Gaza. The ship, sailing under the Swedish flag, was carrying essential medicines in the cargo to supply to Gaza, which is currently reeling under catastrophic humanitarian conditions.
Freedom Flotilla Coalition, in a statement, said that it lost contact with the vessel when it was in the international waters. The last reported contact was when the ship was at 40 nautical miles from the Gaza coast.
Earlier, on July 29, a ship flying the Norwegian flag, Al Awda (The Return), was intercepted by the Israeli navy as it attempted to break the blockade. The ship was diverted to the port of Ashdod in Israel and its passengers were assaulted and arrested.
In another incident, Israeli soldiers on Friday shot and killed one Palestinian and injured 220, as thousands marched towards the Gaza border calling for end to the occupation. This was the 19th week of the Great March of Return.
The victim, 25-year-old Ahmad Yaghi, had survived a bullet injury in his leg while participating in a previous protest at the Israeli border. Yesterday, he returned to protest against Israel’s denial of the Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland from which they were evicted – a right endorsed by the UN in accordance with international law.
But this time, the bullet he received was not in the leg, and he succumbed to his injury. While around 130 protestors were shot by Israeli soldiers from fortified sniper positions hundreds of meters behind the fence and many others suffered from tear-gas inhalation, Israel complained about burning kites that some protesters flew into the illegally occupied territories, causing relatively minor fires in the fields. No injuries, however, have been reported from these fires.
In response to the flying of these kites, an Israeli tank fired at a Hamas position, and soldiers fired a shell into a site in the east of Rafah. Palestinians across the Gaza strip were injured by Israeli Defense Forces, in different areas in the south, central and northern parts of the strip.
50 of the 220 injured were rushed to hospitals nearby while the remaining received first aid treatment on the site. Israel’s blockade of the strip has led to a severe shortage of medicines. Activists carrying medicines in ships to Gaza strip have been repeatedly stopped and turned back.