Fri, June 04, 2010
World > Middle East > Gaza flotilla clash

Free Gaza Movement accuses Israel of covert sabotage

2010-06-04 14:07:56 GMT2010-06-04 22:07:56 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

NICOSIA, June 4 (Xinhua)-- The Free Gaza Movement accused Israel on Friday of sabotaging some of their ships carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Six ships of the aid flotilla were raided by the Israeli navy on Monday morning in international waters. Nine activists, most of them Turks, were killed and dozens of others injured during the operation, prompting outrage from all over the world.

Two other ships, Challenger 1 and 2, suffered mechanical problems as they sailed toward the rendezvous location south off Cyprus.

"The ships have not reached their target...because covert action was taken against them," Israeli army Colonel Itzik Tourgeman on Tuesday told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, Israeli news website isrealnationalnews.com reported.

In a statement e-mailed to Xinhua and other international media organizations, the organizers said they already had suspicions about what happened to the two boats, which had received regular maintenance.

"(It) turns out we didn't have to prove it. Israeli mouthpieces did." said the organization.

An unnamed Israeli Defence Force source who briefed the Knesset's foreign affairs and defence committee on the widely criticized armed interception of the flotilla at sea, also spoke of "grey operations" being mounted against the flotilla, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported.

"We were lucky that our two captains were superbly trained and able to offload the passengers safely," said the Free Gaza Movement.

The pro-Palestinian organization added that they're going to pull the third aid ship on the way to Gaza, Rachel Corrie, into a port, and add more high-profile people on board.

The Free Gaza Movement declined to reveal at which port the ship plans to dock before it sets sail for Gaza, in order to protect it from further sabotage by Israeli agents.

Meanwhile, the Free Gaza Movement denied a report by Israel's Haaretz daily that quiet messages had been exchanged over the past few days between them and Israeli authorities, which offered to allow the ship to dock without incident at the Ashdod port in Israel, instead of Gaza.

The organizers called it "sabotage with words."

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