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News number: 8711170975

17:01 | 2009-02-05

World

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Israeli Forces Capture Lebanese Aid Ship

TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli forces boarded a Lebanese aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip, taking the vessel to an undisclosed destination.



The Israeli military opened fire on the ship earlier on Thursday, as it was trying to deliver food and medicine to the starving Palestinians in the Israeli blockaded territory.

"We were informed by the crew that Israeli forces boarded the ship after firing shots at it," AFP quoted Maen Bashur as saying. "We have lost contact with them."

Prior to the incident Israeli gunboats had called on the boat to turn away from the Palestinian territory.

"Two Israeli gunboats intercepted the ship on Wednesday night while it was in international waters trying to reach territorial waters in northern Palestine," Bashur said.

"The ship was asked to turn back as two Israeli military helicopters flew over the area and fired flares. The aid boat moved away, but it has been trying since early Thursday to reach Gaza through Egyptian territorial waters," he explained.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora urged the international community to press Israel to allow the vessel which was carrying 60 tons of medical supplies, food, clothing and toys, to reach Gaza.

The Togolese-registered Tali with nine passengers aboard had passed through the nearby Mediterranean island of Cyprus where authorities checked the cargo to ensure transparency before it headed for Gaza.