Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has denounced Israel’s seizure of a Swedish-flagged ship that was heading to the Gaza Strip as part of an aid flotilla to break the regime’s long-time blockade of the impoverished territory.
In a statement as well as in comments posted on Twitter, Hamas slammed the “kidnapping” of the activists on board the boat and added that “this ship succeeded in showing the crime of the blockade.”
The comments came after Israeli forces on Monday stopped a flotilla of four boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists that wanted to reach the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Reports said three of the boats have been turned back while the fourth, the Swedish- flagged Marianne of Gothenburg, was boarded by the Israeli forces and taken to the port city of Ashdod.
A number of high-profile individuals were reportedly on board the vessel, including former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki.
According to the organizers of the flotilla, the vessel was transporting medical equipment and solar panels and had 18 people from nine countries on board.
Following the interception of the ship by the Israeli navy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the actions of the naval forces.
The Israeli military, meanwhile, claimed that the process of stopping and searching the boat was “uneventful.” The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), however, said they have “no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was ‘uneventful.’”
The FCC, which is an international solidarity movement working to end the siege on Gaza, added that the Tel Aviv regime’s repeated acts of piracy in international waters show that the policy of occupation and blockade extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean.
Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, in a move that has led to a serious decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
Back in 2010, Israeli commandos attacked the Turkish-flagged MV Mavi Marmara, which was part of an aid convoy named the Freedom Flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish citizens and injuring about 50 others. A 10th individual died after four years in a coma.
The flotilla was attempting to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip by carrying aid to the Palestinians in the impoverished enclave.