The Israeli navy intercepted a French yacht trying to breach the sea blockade of Gaza yesterday.
A commando squad met no resistance when they boarded the vessel Dignite (pictured in foreground) which was discovered 50 miles out at sea in international waters.
“After dialogue reached a dead end, naval commandos boarded the yacht and took control of it without facing resistance,’’ Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, Mordechai said.
The boat was then steered the yacht toward the Israeli port of Ashdod.
The yacht carrying 16 passengers including a crew from Al Jazeera, and an Israeli journalist was originally meant to be part of a flotilla seeking to mark a year since the last flotilla tried to break the blockade and was fired upon by Israeli forces.
Those onboard were apparently demonstrating “the steadfastness and determination of the
flotilla movement to sail until the blockade is broken,’’ according to a statement issued hours before the yacht was intercepted.
However Sky News reports that several countries, including Turkey, had dropped out of the latest flotilla after accepting Israel's position that humanitarian aid and other goods were now passing more easily into Gaza from both Israel and Egypt.
The naval blockade was originally imposed by Israel in early 2009 after conflict in the region.