Flotilla - AP, July 19, 2011
Israeli naval boats escort the Dignite-Al-Karame yacht into the port of Ashdod, July 19, 2011. Photo by AP
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Hamas condemned on Tuesday the seizure of the French yacht Dignite-Al Karame , with its spokesman Ismail Rudwan describing it as "piracy, a war crime and a violation of the principles of human rights."

Earlier this month, Hamas criticized Greece for blocking the departure of several flotilla ships to Gaza, and accused Greece of playing into Israel’s hands.

The French yacht was intercepted by the Israel Navy on Tuesday after it refused to obey an Israeli demand to change course as it sailed for a Gaza port.

Elite troops from Israel's Shayetet 13 naval commando unit boarded the yacht minutes after Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz issued the order to intercept. The commandos quickly took control of the vessel, with no resistance from those aboard.

"In accordance with government directives, after all diplomatic channels had been exhausted and continuous calls to the vessel had been ignored, IDF (marines) boarded the Karame in an effort to stop it from breaking the maritime security blockade on the Gaza Strip," a military statement said.

Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement said the Dignite-Al Karame had previously declared Alexandria, Egypt, as its destination so it could slip out of Greece, and then changed its route to Gaza. This, she said, was a legal act.