Last flotilla boat taken to Ashdod

Sixteen passengers of the yacht Dignite al-Karama were taken into custody on Tuesday after Israeli naval commandos boarded the boat about 65 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza.

The ten activists, three journalists and three crew members did not try to resist the boarding and the yacht changed course for Ashdod Port.

So ended the second Gaza flotilla that was originally planned to include 20 boats and 2,000 activists.

A combination of diplomatic activity, legal pressure and mysterious malfunctions whittled the fleet down to this small boat, which set sail on Saturday.

The boat's official destination had been Alexandria in Egypt, but when it changed course for Gaza, Israeli Navy ships requested it not to enter the blockaded area.

After two hours, when it was clear that the yacht, which contained no supplies for Gaza, was not changing course, it was boarded and forced to sail to Ashdod. "It was clear this was not a humanitarian mission, but a provocation designed to delegitimise Israel," said a senior IDF officer.

The hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists from around the world who arrived last month in Greece to sail for Gaza with the flotilla have returned home.

    Last updated: 1:46pm, July 21 2011