Israeli ships shadow Gaza flotilla, organizers say

Story highlights

  • The two-vessel convoy is in international waters, organizers say
  • Israeli ships came within 6 miles of the boats Thursday, they say
  • Israel had no comment on the report
Israeli warships have begun shadowing two aid boats bound for the embargoed Palestinian territory of Gaza but are taking no action, a spokesman for the aid mission said Thursday.
Two Israeli ships came within about six miles of the "Freedom Waves" mini-flotilla before pulling back late Thursday, spokesman Laurence Davis told CNN. The motor vessels Saoirse and Tahrir were in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, about 250 kilometers (160 miles) north of Gaza, shortly before midnight (5 p.m. ET), he said.
The Israeli military said it would not comment on the matter.
According to the activist organizers, Wednesday's mission is the 11th attempt to run Israel's blockade of Gaza by sea. Five missions arrived safely in Gaza between August and December 2008, with the rest intercepted by Israel.
In 2010, an Israeli raid on one flotilla resulted in nine civilian deaths. A U.N. report in September criticized Israel for its use of excessive force in the incident, but described the blockade -- which activists call illegal -- as a "legitimate security measure."