October 8, 2012
Swedish flotilla ship heading for Gaza sails from Italy
A Swedish ship carrying human rights activists attempting to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza left from Italy.
The Estelle, carrying 17 activists from countries including Canada, Norway, Sweden, Israel and the United States, sailed from the port at Naples on Saturday. The vessel, part of the Freedom Flotilla movement that included the ill-fated Mavi Marmara, reportedly is carrying humanitarian goods.
It will take about two weeks to reach Gaza's territorial waters, according to the French news agency AFP.
The Freedom Flotilla's first attempt to break the blockade ended in the deaths of nine Turkish activists after Israeli Navy commandos on May 31, 2010 boarded the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid, after warning the ship not to sail into waters near the Gaza Strip in circumvention of Israel's naval blockade of the coastal strip.
A spokeswoman for the movement, Ann Ighe, told AFP that the Estelle "is a peaceful ship."
The Estelle began its journey in Sweden and toured Europe, including Finland, France and Spain, before arriving last week in the Gulf of Naples.