A Gaza-bound vessel sailed by pro-Palestinian activists has been intercepted by the Israeli Navy on Monday. The boat is believed to be Marianne, which is the lead vessel of a four strong flotilla.

According to the Israeli military forces, they acted in international waters to prevent the "intended breach of the maritime blockade" imposed since 2007 against the Hamas-run territory.

Gaza-bound boat intercepted by Israeli Navy

Image: Stefanos Rapanis

In a statement for world news media the military said:

"In accordance with international law, the Israeli Navy advised the vessel several times to change course. Following their refusal the Navy visited and searched the vessel in international waters in order to prevent their intended breach of the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip."

As stated by Israeli Military, there was no violence as the navy searched the boat.

The Israeli Navy diverted and escorted the vessel to an Israeli port Ashdod.

The pro-Palestinian activists said they wanted to draw attention to the blockade, which Israel says is a necessary security measure.

According to the activists, the vessel was carrying humanitarian aid, including medicine and solar panels.
It is the latest flotilla, part of several protest voyages against Israel's maritime blockade.

A few dozen Europeans were on board the boat, including politicians. They said that the vessel had been headed for Gaza, the blockaded Palestinian territory.

In a similar protest in 2010, nine Turkish activists were killed aboard another vessel amid clashes as Israeli commandos boarded the boat.

During the operation, ten Israeli soldiers were injured in the incident back then on the Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara, while the Navy attempted to breach the blockade.

The incident from 2010 caused a deep rift between Israel and Turkey, who were former allies.