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Israel confiscates Swedish activist ship en route to Gaza



The Israeli Navy captured a sailboat on Swedish flag with activist passengers on Saturday, trying to break the long-standing blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military said the ship called "Freedom for Gaza" was "intercepted in accordance with international law."

The 12 passengers from Sweden, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Spain are in custody and are being detained Home flew, said a spokeswoman for the Israeli immigration.

The travel organizer, the Swedish group Ship to Gaza, said the boat mainly carried medical supplies, claiming it had been mistakenly intercepted in international waters.

"The ship's demands to Gaza are that the ship with its crew and cargo … may live in peace in international and Palestinian waters in accordance with international law," it said in a statement. "This is a demand that the 1

1-year illegal and destructive blockade against Gaza be finally lifted."

Israeli military said the boat violated the "legal sea blockade" and "any humanitarian goods could be transferred to Gaza through the port of Ashdod."

The Freedom for Gaza ship was the second ship of the "Freedom Flotilla", which was to be confiscated when it tried to break through the blockade of Gaza, the organizers said.

Earlier this week, the Israeli Navy intercepted a Norwegian flag activist boat, one of four that left Scandinavia in mid-May.

Israel claims the blockade is necessary to prevent militant Palestinians from obtaining weapons or other material for military purposes.

Israel and Palestinian militants have led three wars since 2008 in Gaza, an economically disadvantaged 365 square kilometer area that is home to more than two million Palestinians.

The United Nations has called for the lifting of the blockade, pointing to worsening humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave.


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