Israeli Navy Turns Back Libyan Ship

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The Israeli navy turned back a Libyan ship bound for the Gaza Strip, provoking a wrathful response from the official Libyan news agency, which called the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) a "terrorist, Zionist army."

The boat, which set sail from Libya early last week and docked en route at an Egyptian port, was allegedly carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

"They understood that the [Israeli] navy was there and decided to turn around," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David said. "We have a very clear policy, which is constantly publicized," he said.

While Libya claimed the boat was loaded with food, medicine and blankets, Israeli Foreign Ministry officials pointed out Libya's anti-Israel status.

"Libya is a hostile state to Israel and what guarantees do we have that the boat is not carrying weapons and explosives for Hamas?" one official said.

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have allowed three boats from the "Free Gaza" movement, which sailed from Cyprus, to dock at Gaza.

Sources: Reuters, The Jerusalem Post

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