Swedish flotilla ship heads for Gaza

(JTA) — A Swedish ship carrying human rights activists has left from Italy to attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.

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The Estelle, carrying 17 activists from countries including Canada, Norway, Sweden, Israel  and the United States, left from the port at Naples, Italy on Saturday. The vessel, which measures 173 feet long, reportedly is carrying humanitarian goods.

It will take about two weeks to reach Gaza’s territorial waters, according to AFP.

The ship is part of the Freedom Flotilla movement. The movement’s first attempt to break the blockade ended in the deaths of nine Turkish activists after Israeli Navy commandos on May 31, 2010 boarded the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid, after warning the ship not to sail into waters near the Gaza Strip in circumvention of Israel’s naval blockade of the coastal strip.

Freedom Flotilla movement spokeswoman Ann Ighe told the French news agency AFP that the Estelle “is a peaceful ship.”

The Estelle began its journey in Sweden and toured Europe, including Finland, France and Spain, before arriving last week in the Gulf of Naples. 
 

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