Israeli authorities have detained pro-Palestinian activists on board two “Freedom Waves to Gaza” vessels, foiling the latest attempt to break the four-year Israeli blockade of the territory.
The ships were forced to sail into the Israeli port of Ashdod, where all 27 passengers were handed over to the authorities and taken to an Israeli detention facility near Tel Aviv.
Al Jazeera’s Casey Kauffman was among a group of journalists arrested late Friday when the Israeli navy boarded two ships sailing toward Gaza, he has since been released.
“The first two or three [Israeli navy personnel] that came on board were very aggressive,” Kauffman said on Saturday.
“There were taser guns and water cannons used but once they were on board they realised there were non-violent activists and they had the ship under control.
“At that point everything calmed down.”
The Canadian vessel Tahrir and the Irish boat MV Saoirse were in international waters, between 64km to 96km off the Gaza coast, when they were intercepted and forced to head instead towards the southern city of Ashdod.
Once the vessels carrying activists, journali…