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Cynthia Mckinney

Cynthia Mckinney

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News Front PageAfricaAmericasAsia-PacificEuropeMiddle EastSouth AsiaUKBusinessHealthScience & EnvironmentTechnologyEntertainmentAlso in the news-----------------Video and Audio-----------------Have Your SayIn PicturesCountry ProfilesSpecial ReportsRelated BBC sitesSportWeatherOn This DayEditors' BlogBBC World ServiceLanguagesArabicPersianPashtoTurkishFrenchMore Page last updated at 21:34 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 22:34 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Israelis intercept Gaza aid ship The ship left the Cypriot port of Larnaca on MondayIsraeli forces have boarded a ship trying to carry aid and pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel's blockade of the territory.The 20 passengers include former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire.

The activists also include some Britons, campaigners said.

Ms McKinney described it as "an outrageous violation of international law", as the boat was on a humanitarian mission and was not in Israeli waters.

The Israeli military said the boat was trying to enter Gaza illegally.

The US-based Free Gaza Movement has breached the blockade five times since August 2008.

Two other attempts by the activist group were stopped by Israeli warships during Israel's three-week military offensive in Gaza in December and January.

Israel keeps a tight hold on Gaza, which is ruled by the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

The Israeli military said the passengers and crew of the Greek-registered ship Arion would be handed over to immigration authorities in Ashdod, and its humanitarian aid cargo would be taken to Gaza by road after a security check.

"An Israeli navy force intercepted, boarded and took control of the cargo boat Arion...

as it was illegally attempting to enter the Gaza Strip," a military spokesman said.

ReconstructionThe British Foreign Office said on Tuesday it was aware of the situation and was trying to clarify the facts.

"We would be concerned if the stories of the Israeli Navy boarding the boat in international waters were true," a spokesman said.

"We have made it clear to Israel that we are very concerned for the safety of British nationals." The mission is the latest by the Free Gaza Movement, which has renamed the ferry Spirit of Humanity.

"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us.

Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip," said Ms McKinney in a statement.

"President [Barack] Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do.

We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey." On Monday, a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross described the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza as people "trapped in despair", unable to rebuild their lives after Israel's offensive.

Donors have pledged $4.5 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation in Gaza following the 22-day offensive which left more than 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties and 200 schools damaged or destroyed, as well as 39 mosques and two churches.

Bookmark with:DeliciousDiggredditFacebookStumbleUponWhat are these? E-mail this to a friend Printable version Print SponsorISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS KEY STORIES Gaza residents 'live in despair'Egypt reopens crossing into GazaHamas parliament Speaker releasedIsraeli PM 'ruins' peace chanceIsrael sets terms for Palestinian state FEATURES AND ANALYSIS Little conceded Benjamin Netanyahu used the words 'Palestinian state', but gives little else away Settler vineyards take root in West BankIsraeli Arabs defiant on 'loyalty laws'Disputed facts under ground in JerusalemWho wants to talk to Hamas? BACKGROUND Gaza conflict map Satellite image shows extent of destruction in Gaza City Q&A: Gaza conflictWho are Hamas?Who is a civilian? VIDEO AND AUDIO Obama on Israeli-Palestinian 'stalemate' PROFILES Salam Fayyad Hezbollah Sheikh Nasrallah Ehud Olmert Mahmoud Abbas Ismail Haniya Fouad Siniora Mahmoud Zahhar Amir Peretz Shimon Peres Khaled Meshaal Hamas Islamic Jihad Gaza Strip Al-Aqsa Brigade Ariel Sharon � BBC ARABIC.COM BBC News in Arabic RELATED INTERNET LINKS ICRC UNRWA Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites TOP MIDDLE EAST STORIESDeadly market bomb hits Iraq cityFrance 'banned Yemen crash plane'Gaza civilians 'killed by drones'MOST POPULAR STORIES NOWSHAREDREADWATCHED/LISTENEDDaily sex 'best for good sperm'Most complete Earth map publishedJacksons 'not ready' for funeralMinnesota senate win for FrankenTickets offered to Jackson fansMost popular now, in detail SHAREDREADWATCHED/LISTENEDFrance 'banned Yemen crash plane'Most complete Earth map publishedDaily sex 'best for good sperm'US judge overturns Stanford bailMinnesota senate win for FrankenGiving up my iPod for a WalkmanItalians killed as train explodesDay in picturesJacksons 'not ready' for funeralTickets offered to Jackson fansMost popular now, in detail SHAREDREADWATCHED/LISTENED Yemen jet crashes in Indian Ocean Footage of train explosion aftermath Deadly market bomb hits Iraq city US soldier on leaving Iraq's town centres Jermaine Jackson on brother's death Jackson father on grandchildren Michael Jackson 911 phone call One-minute World News Relatives await news of Yemen jet passengers Man in the Mirror: Many faces of MichaelMost popular now, in detail FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS Warning lights Comorans in France say air safety fears went unheeded Ordered out Honduran leader's removal may prove badly timed Day in pictures Eye-catching images from around the world Most Popular NowMost Popular Now | 72,343 people are reading stories on the site right now.
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