Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Remember the USS Liberty?

Let's just say that Israel's navy tried a bit of a reenactment with a relief boat today:

Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, standing beside a damaged yacht, Tuesday accused the Israeli navy of ramming the vessel to halt the delivery of medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip.

“Our mission was a peaceful mission,” McKinney told CNN after she and 15 others aboard the boat made it safely to the harbor in the Lebanese seaport of Tyre.

McKinney, the recent Green Party candidate for U.S. president and frequent center of controversy, is the most prominent political figure to join the relief voyages sponsored by the Free Gaza Movement.

McKinney was slated to travel by car to Beirut where she was expected to conducted media interviews and meet with Lebanese government officials, said Paul Larudee, a co-founder of the California-based Free Gaza group.

Larudee said the organization was determined to continue the relief mission, the sixth such trip to Gaza and the first to be interrupted.

“We’re going to get it repaired,” Larudee said of the “Dignity,” the cabin cruiser which he said sustained damage to the hull, the bridge and the engine room.

[snip]

In a news release, the Free Gaza group offered a conflicting version of the incident. The Israeli gunboats “gave us no warning” and “rammed us three times,” said Caoimhe Butterly, who was aboard the aid ship.

“We began taking on water and, for a few minutes, we all feared for our lives,” she said of the early morning incident.

Larudee said the Dignity’s bilge pumps worked well enough for the boat to sail to a safe harbor in Lebanon. The boat had shipped out of Cyprus Monday en route to Gaza.

See also, BBC's coverage.

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