Palestine: Gaza's Ark boat attacked


Gaza's Ark, a Palestinian-built protest boat which was preparing to run Israel's naval blockade of the territory, was badly damaged in an explosion on April 29 that organisers blamed on Israel, said that day.

Gaza's Ark is a project to politically challenge the blockade of Gaza by bringing a boat out of the port of Gaza carrying Palestinian exports. It is a joint initiative by Palestinians in Gaza, including individuals from the Palestine Sailing Federation and the Fishermen’s Solidarity Campaign among others, and international solidarity activists, including Free Gaza Australia, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, and Americans affiliated with the organising committees for the US Boat to Gaza and the Gaza Freedom March.

Gaza's Ark is part of the ongoing international Freedom Flotilla Coalition challenging the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The statement below on the attack was released by Free Gaza Australia on April 29.

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At 03:45am Gaza time this morning, the night guard on board Gaza's Ark received a call to leave the boat because it was going to be attacked.

The guard left, but when nothing happened, he returned after five minutes. A few minutes later, a large explosion rocked the boat causing extensive damage.

The boat sank part way and is now sitting on the shallow sea floor. The guard was not injured but was taken to hospital for tests.

Mahfouz Kabariti, Gaza’s Ark Project Manager, said: “The extent and nature of the damage are currently being investigated. We will provide an update when available.”

David Heap of Gaza's Ark Steering Committee said: “Gaza’s Ark and all our partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition are considering our next move in response to this cowardly act of terrorism, but our position remains clear: Neither this nor any other attack will stop our efforts to challenge the blockade of Gaza until it ends.”

“Freedom Flotilla boats have been sabotaged before,” James Godfrey another member of the Steering Committee based in Australia said . “This attack comes days before our test sail and weeks before our planned departure from Gaza. You can sink a boat, but you cannot sink hope or a movement.”