Israel deports activists after Gaza flotilla seizure

Israel has deported two top political figures who had taken part in a flotilla defying the Zionist regime's blockade of Gaza Strip.

Palestinians wave their national flag as they ride boats during a rally in support of activists aboard a pro-Gaza flotilla made up of four boats aimed at defying Israel's blockade of Gaza, at the seaport of Gaza City on June 28, 2015. (AFP photo)

Tunisian ex-president Moncef Marzouki and European parliament member Ana Miranda were deported from the occupied territories. 

“The (former) president of Tunisia and the Spanish lawmaker flew this morning. There are another 14 who have begun the expulsion process,” a spokeswoman for Israel's immigration authority said.

Israel seized the Marianne of Gothenburg, the Swedish-flagged vessel which was part of the Freedom Flotilla III carrying pro-Palestinian activists, including 16 foreign nationals, to Gaza. The people wanted to highlight Israel’s blockade on the Palestinian enclave, which they have called as “inhumane and illegal.”

The boat was then directed to the Israeli port of Ashdod, prompting the three other vessels to turn back fearing a deadly use of force by the Israeli regime similar to what happened in 2010 to another Gaza-bound flotilla.   

Israeli military said it did not use force for stopping the Marianne, but Petros Stergiou, a spokesman for the flotilla, said, "What we learned is that the Israeli navy attacked the Marianne around 100 nautical miles from the shore of Gaza."

Stergiou condemned the Israeli seizure of the flotilla in international waters, saying, "Once again, the Israeli government and its military has acted like state pirates and attacked our boat in international waters.”

According to the organizers of the flotilla, the vessel was transporting medical equipment and solar panels for the besieged Gazans.

Reports say Israel has imprisoned the Marianne crew. “Most of Marianne crew now in Givon prison, Israel,” according to a tweet by the official Freedom Flottila Twitter account (@GazaFFlotilla)