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Israeli Forces Board Gaza Aid Ship


An Israeli military vessel (L) arrives at the navy port of Ashdod in southern Israel, 05 Jun 2010

An Israeli military vessel (L) arrives at the navy port of Ashdod in southern Israel, 05 Jun 2010

Israeli forces have boarded a cargo ship carrying aid to the Gaza Strip after it ignored repeated warnings to divert its course.

The military said the pro-Palestinian activists on board the Irish-owned Rachel Corrie did not resist when troops boarded the ship Saturday.

The Rachel Corrie was carrying 20 tons of aid and a group of activists that includes a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Israeli forces not to harm the activists. Those forces were escorting the ship to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection.

This is the second attempt in a week by the "Free Gaza Movement" to deliver aid to Gaza. On Monday, eight Turks and an American of Turkish origin were killed after Israeli commandos boarded their ship.

The vessel is one of several ships organized by a Turkish group trying to break a three-year blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza by Israel and Egypt.

On Saturday, United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said Israel's blockade may be illegal. Pillay said that under international humanitarian law, "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare" is prohibited. She also said the law prohibits imposing "collective punishment" on civilians.

Turkey condemned Israel for Monday's deadly raid and has threatened to cut ties. Turkish media report that Ankara also is pursuing a possible criminal case against Israel in international court.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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