Israel to deport Gaza flotilla activists

AP News
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Posted: Nov 05, 2011 10:06 AM
Israel to deport Gaza flotilla activists

Israel has begun deportation procedures for a group of pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israel's navy intercepted two small boats carrying around two dozen international activists on Friday and towed the vessels to a port north of Gaza. No one was hurt.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said 22 activists are being processed and should be sent home within 72 hours.

Two Greek crew members were flown home Saturday. Three journalists from the U.S., Spain and Egypt were released and told to leave by Sunday.

Israel says its naval blockade is vital to stop weapons from reaching Palestinian militant groups like Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Last year, Israeli forces killed nine Turks in a botched raid to halt a larger protest flotilla.