Women's Flotilla Intercepted en Route to Gaza Docks in Israel

The Israeli navy intercepted the Zaytouna-Olivia, which sought to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip, without incident on Wednesday.

Palestinians sail boats in the port of Gaza City in support of the Gaza-bound flotilla of international female activists attempting to break Israeli blockade. October 5, 2016.
Mahud Hams, AFP

The Israeli military said Thursday a boat carrying pro-Palestinian women activists has docked at an Israeli port after being intercepted and escorted by the navy.

On Wednesday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the flotilla, which sought to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip, about 35 nautical miles from the Israeli coastline.

According to a high-ranking officer, passengers on board the Zaytouna-Olivia offered no resistance when the troops took over the boat. The boat was redirected to the Israeli port city of Ashdod, where it arrived Thursday morning.

The Women’s Boat to Gaza had set out from Barcelona carrying 13 female activist: including several parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, a retired U.S. army colonel and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The IDF said those on board were "transferred to the appropriate authorities for further processing."

The boat is part of the International Freedom Flotilla Coalition of pro-Palestinian groups mostly based in Europe. The coalition has sent several aid boats bound for Gaza, but the last one successfully reached Gaza in 2008.

In 2010, Israel raided the Turkish-led Mavi Marmara flotilla bound for Gaza, killing 10 Turkish nationals.

Also on Wednesday, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in the Israeli border city of Sderot after sirens sounded in communities near the Gaza border. No injuries were reported and IDF forces responded by striking Hamas targets in northern Gaza. An Israeli soldier died after ejecting from his plane after returning from the mission.