SA woman detained in Israel released

2016-10-06 22:50
Palestinians show their solidarity with a Gaza-bound flotilla of international activists attempting to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. (Mohammed Abed, AFP)

Palestinians show their solidarity with a Gaza-bound flotilla of international activists attempting to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. (Mohammed Abed, AFP)

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Cape Town – The South African woman Israeli authorities “kidnapped” and detained while on a humanitarian mission to Gaza has been released, the international relations department said on Thursday.

Leigh-Ann Naidoo was expected to arrive at OR Tambo International Airport on Friday afternoon, accompanied by South Africa’s ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said.

He said earlier that the South African embassy in Tel Aviv was liaising with Israeli authorities and arranging access to Naidoo.

Earlier this week, the Israeli navy intercepted a boat Naidoo and a group of pro-Palestinian women activists from various countries were travelling to Gaza on.  

On Wednesday, Naidoo made a plea for help in a video posted on YouTube.

 “If you are seeing this video, we have been intercepted and kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces. I want to put [out] an appeal to all my comrades, brothers, sisters and families to put pressure on the South African government to insist that they release me as soon as possible," she said.

Another crew member, Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, said they were intercepted in international waters and taken to Israel.

Naidoo wrote in a diary entry, published by, that most boats in the "Freedom Flotilla" were rerouted to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the Israeli Defence Force would question, process, and deport them.

"From here, we will either be moved to a prison or our deportation will be done while we are being held at the detention centre. Our embassies will come to help us and our legal representatives will do the same. Hopefully our mission will highlight the unlawful and inhumane blockade of Palestine."

The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition is a global movement aimed at helping Gaza's residents.

The Israeli government said on previous occasions that its land and sea blockade of Gaza was aimed at preventing Palestinian fundamentalist organisation Hamas from getting weapons and supplies.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, and was allegedly seeking to destroy Israel.



Read more on:    dirco  |  palestine  |  gaza  |  israel

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