Israel Seizes Gaza-bound Activist Boat

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Israel's navy peacefully seized the Irene, a boat of Jewish activists bound for the Gaza Strip, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson reported Tuesday.
    
The nine Jews, who were from Israel and other countries, said they were trying to draw attentions to Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. They added that they would not resist if they were stopped. 

"The army established contact with the captain and asked him where we are headed," Rami Elhanan, who was aboard the Irene, told The Jerusalem Post. "The navy asked to bypass the ship from 5 miles to the right, and we complied." 

"It is an unfortunate fact that the Israeli Navy has to be distracted from its acts of preventing terror and weapons-smuggling to Israel's enemies and deal with this kind of provocation," an IDF spokesperson wrote in a statement on the ship.

The incident comes four months after Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla of nine Turkish activists that also tried to break the blockade. The Jewish state imposed the barricade after the Islamic terror group Hamas seized power of Gaza three years ago.
    
Meanwhile, U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell rushed to the region to prop up peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
    
Palestinian leaders have threatened to quit the talks after Israel decided not to extend a temporary ban on construction in the West Bank.

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