Israel expels passengers of seized Togolese freighter

06/02/2009
Israel expels passengers of seized Togolese freighter

The passengers and crew of a Lebanese freighter seized by the Israeli navy as it sought to deliver aid to Gaza were expelled on Friday, an army spokesman said.

He said no arms were found on board the Togolese-flagged Tali which was towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod on Thursday after it was intercepted as it headed towards the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli blockade.Ten of those who were on board were sent to Lebanon, while former Greek Catholic archbishop of Jerusalem, Monsignor Hilarion Capucci, 84, was sent to Syria and others were to be flown to London, radio reported.

Israeli authorities said they immediately transferred to Gaza the blood plasma that was found aboard the vessel.

"We are still making an inventory of the supplies," said military spokesman Peter Lerner. "It doesn't seem to be a large amount," he added.

Another military spokesman said earlier that by entering Gazan waters, the crew "raised suspicion, as it could threaten security concerns, or furthermore, the boat could be used for smuggling banned equipment (weaponry, etc.) into or out of the Gaza Strip."

 

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