Israeli commandos intercepted a two-boat flotilla in international waters Friday afternoon as the vessels attempted to challenge the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Using warships and water canons, Israeli forces seized the Canadian-owned Tahrir and the Irish MV Saoirse approximately 45 miles from the Gazan coastline, then hauled the vessels' 27 passengers, including Irish parliamentarians, journalists and human rights activists, to Israel.
Seven were deported Saturday. Twenty remained imprisoned in Israel over the weekend, among them Americans Kit Kittredge, a peace activist from Quilcene, Wash., and Jihan Hafiz, a correspondent for the radio/TV news program Democracy Now!
Released Monday night, Hafiz arrived in New York early this morning and was interviewed on Democracy Now!
In a one-minute phone call from Givon Prison on Sunday, Fintan Lane, an Irish historian and writer traveling on the MV Saoirse described the abduction of the Irish vessel as "violent and dangerous."