NICOSIA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Israeli gunboats on Thursday morning turned back a vessel trying to transport pro-Palestinian activists and medical supplies to the war-battered enclave.
The Greek-flagged "Spirit of Humanity," carrying 21 activists, was surrounded by Israeli gunboats in international waters off southern Lebanon, Mary Hughes, a member of the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement, said.
The Israeli navy threatened to open fire if the ship continued its voyage to Gaza, she said.
The ship, which was carrying doctors, aid workers and journalists, had no other choice but to head back for the southeastern Cypriot port of Larnaca, from where it set sail on Wednesday.
This is the movement's second failed attempt to take much needed medical supplies to Gaza following Israel's military operation, which has so far killed more than 1,000 people.
Since August 2008, the Free Gaza Movement has successfully challenged the Israeli blockade five times, bringing humanitarian supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip.