While Hamas-hugging Green party MP Marama Davidson has been detained, Israel has come under rocket attack from Gaza.
The Israeli Navy on Wednesday evening took over control of a boat of women activists that was headed to Gaza as a protest against Israel’s security blockade of the coastal strip.
The IDF confirmed the takeover.
The boat was commandeered without violence or any resistance from the 13 activists onboard, the army said.
It was intercepted some 35 nautical miles (65 kilometers) from the Gaza coast, and was making its way slowly toward the Israeli port of Ashdod.
The group of 13 women, including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, was traveling aboard the Zaytouna-Oliva sailboat in the Mediterranean Sea toward the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.
“In accordance with government directives and after exhausting all diplomatic channels, the Israeli Navy redirected the vessel in order to prevent breach of the lawful maritime blockade,” the IDF said in a statement.
“In accordance with international law, the Israeli Navy advised the vessel numerous times to change course prior to the action. Following their refusal the Navy visited and searched the vessel in international waters in order to prevent their intended breach of the lawful maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The visit and search of the vessel was uneventful,” the statement concluded.
Women soldiers were placed at the forefront of the navy’s interception force, Israel Radio reported, in order to minimize friction with the activists.
The activists put up a website carrying prepared “SOS messages” by those on board alleging they had been “kidnapped” by the IDF.