Commando 13 warship peacefully leads yacht to Ashdod after it illegally entered blockaded waters despite receiving warnings; IDF spokesperson calls boat a "provocation."
The Israeli Navy took over the Irene, a yacht of Jewish activists headed for Gaza, on Tuesday morning, and is leading it to Ashdod.
No violence was used in taking over the boat, IDF spokesperson reported, and the activists were peaceful, as well.
Before taking over the ship, the navy gave the yacht two warnings that they are breaking Israeli and international laws. When the captain ignored the warnings, the ship entered blockaded waters.
"It is an unfortunate fact that the Israeli Navy has to be distracted from its acts of preventing terror and weapons-smuggling to Israel’s enemies, and deal with this kind of provocation," the IDF spokesperson wrote in a statement on the ship
Earlier Tuesday, an Israeli activist told Israel Radio that the two Israeli Navy ships have escorted the boat carrying Jewish activists to Gaza for half an hour on Tuesday morning, and more ships are on the horizon.
"The army established contact with the captain, and asked him where we are headed," Rami Elhanan, who is aboard the Irene, said. "The navy asked to bypass the ship from 5 miles to the right, and we complied."
"We said we are headed to Gaza and sailing under the British flag," Elhanan added.
The Irene, which is carrying nine Jewish activists from Israel and other countries, set sail from Cyprus on Sunday. The activists said they are trying to draw attention to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and will not resist if they are stopped.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David called the activists’ claim to be bringing aid to Gaza "ridiculous" and labeled the voyage "a politically motivated provocation."