Gaza activists say ship sabotaged

2011-06-28 16:25

kalahari.com

  • Breaking Ranks
    These accounts and interviews will surprise, sadden, shock, infuriate, but most of all, stimulate... Now R226.00
    buy now

Athens - Pro-Palestinian activists who plan to breach Israel's sea blockade of the Gaza Strip said on Tuesday that they had increased security around their docked flotilla after an alleged act of sabotage on one of the vessels in a Greek port.

In a statement, Scandinavian organisers said "hostile divers" had cut the propeller shaft of the "Juliano", a ship shared by Swedish, Norwegian and Greek activists.

They said the damage can be repaired and that it will not affect plans to sail for the Palestinian territory toward the end of the week.

Even so, the 10-ship flotilla has already been delayed, beset by administrative problems with Greek port authorities that activists blame on Israeli diplomatic pressure.

Greece's financial crisis raised the prospect of further complications, with protesters blockading the port of Piraeus as part of a 48-hour general strike that began on Tuesday.

"We have increased alert on all the ships. We are having a 24/7 vigil," said Dimitris Plionis, a flotilla representative. He speculated that the alleged sabotage was carried out by "highly trained" individuals, possibly with a military or intelligence background, though he was not specific about the possible culprits.

Norwegian delegation leader Torstein Dahle said in a statement that the incident shows "someone is willing to go to great lengths to stop the flotilla from sailing".

Flotilla organisers said the "Juliano" had been taken out of the water and was in Perama, on the outskirts of Piraeus port near Athens.

Israel warns it will stop any attempt to break the sea blockade of Gaza, saying its measures prevent weapons from reaching Iran-backed Hamas militants who violently seized control in 2007.

Last year, nine activists on a Turkish aid vessel died in a botched Israeli raid on a similar flotilla, with each side accusing the other of starting the violence.

Rumours

Citing intelligence reports, Israeli military spokesperson Lietenant Colonel Avital Leibovich warned that the new flotilla is carrying sulfuric acid for use against Israeli soldiers if they try to board the boats.

She said the navy has trained for the past year to deal with various scenarios and has developed "soft power tactics" to cope with flotilla passengers without engaging in physical contact with them.

"Boarding on the ships will be the last resort for us. We are planning to ask the flotilla not to head toward the Gaza port," she said.

Leibovich emphasised the Israeli soldiers' right to defend themselves from any attack.

Dror Feiler, one of the flotilla organisers, said between 300 and 400 activists hoped to set sail by the end of the month as planned, despite the snags they have encountered.

He said participants were peaceful and he accused the Israeli military of spreading rumors that activists were arming themselves with chemicals and wanted to harm Israeli soldiers.

"If they have any knowledge of such substances or such persons, please inform me because I will take it away from the ships," he said. "I am more interested than they are" in doing so, because that would give the military a pretext to attack the flotilla, he said.

An international uproar ensued after last year's flotilla raid, and Israel eased restrictions on cargo crossing into Gaza by land.

This month, Egypt reopened its Rafah passenger crossing with Gaza after maintaining its own blockade of the territory of 1.5 million people.

Flotilla leaders describe Israel's blockade as a human rights violation and dismiss calls to use Israeli-approved channels for distribution of medicine and other aid.

Greece is the base of their operation, but they have previously not disclosed the exact location of their boats because of security concerns and fear that publicity would attract diplomatic pressure to scrap their mission.

Adam Qvist, the spokesperson for the three-man Danish delegation in the flotilla, said a Canadian-flagged boat that includes activists from Denmark, Canada, Germany, Belgium and Australia was not in the same harbour as the vessel that was allegedly sabotaged.

"We are working to avoid sabotage by, for instance, not revealing anything about the ship or saying where it is anchored in Greece," Qvist said. "We have to be on our guard all the time."

- AP

Read more on:    gaza strip  |  israel
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.