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Israel seizes humanitarian aid ship bound for Gaza

Staff Writer |
Israeli naval forces seized a ship bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip overnight, the Israeli military said on Saturday.

In a statement, the army said the vessel was sailing from Europe to Gaza with the intention of breaking a naval siege imposed on the Palestinian territory.

The ship, which was carrying humanitarian aid, was taken to the Ashdod harbor, the statement said.

Last week, Israeli forces intercepted an aid ship approaching Gaza shores as part of a two-ship flotilla organized by Freedom Flotilla Coalition to break an 11-year Israeli blockade on the Palestinian territory.

By the end of 2016, nearly two million Gazans were depending on international aid in order to survive while nearly half of the families in Gaza lacked access to secure food supplies, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Every year for eight years now, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has been launching a new campaign to challenge the Israeli siege, which has gutted the Gaza economy and deprived its population of many basic commodities.

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists in the Mavi Marmara boat convoy in international waters. The convoy, which was part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, was headed for Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid. Another activist later succumbed to his injuries.

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