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Irish MPs Call for Israel to Be Brought to Account for Sabotaged Boat

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TEHRAN, July 1 (ICANA) – Several MPs in Ireland have called for Israel to be brought to account after Irish boat MV Saoirse was sabotaged to prevent it joining the second international Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
Friday, July 01, 2011 9:20:48 PM
Irish MPs Call for Israel to Be Brought to Account for Sabotaged Boat

'The Irish government must make an international issue of this and call in the Israeli ambassador,” said Joe Higgins of the United Left Alliance (ULA), who was supported in his demand by Independent MP Mick Wallace.

Similar calls were also made in the Irish parliament on Thursday by ULA colleagues Joan Collins and Clare Daly as well as Independent MP Thomas Pringle, while Richard Boyd Barrett, also of the ULA, described the Israeli 'sabotage' as an 'absolute outrage'.

In response, Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said his government would take a very serious view if it turned out that the Saoirse was sabotaged and insisted that there would have to be an investigation by Turkish and Irish authorities.

Seven of the 20 Irish crew returned to Dublin on Thursday, accusing Israel of being responsible for damaging the propeller shaft of the vessel while it was berthed in the Turkish coastal town of Gocek.

Details of the extent of the sabotage, including photos and a video showing that the boat was attacked 'by saboteurs who cut, gouged or filed a piece off the shaft' causing up to €15,000 damage, were revealed at a press conference organised by the Irish Ship to Gaza.

The ISG condemned Israel for deliberately creating “a life threatening situation” believing that the intention was the boat to slowly sink after it set sail on the high seas.

Claudia Saba, a Palestinian living in Ireland, said the damage done 'could not have been accidental' and was almost identical to the propeller shaft of Swedish boat, the Juliano, that had been sabotaged at Piraeus in Greece before setting sail to Gaza earlier in the week.

'Had they gone out to sea, the pressure would have flooded the engine room,' Saba said. 'It was not damaged in such a way as to prevent it setting sail. It was damaged so it would fail at sea.'

In a statement issued from the Turkish port, ISG co-ordinator Fintan Lane, said Israel was the 'only likely party to have carried out this reckless action'.

The international flotilla is the second to attempt Israel's illegal five-year siege of Gaza after the first was attacked by Israeli commandoes in international waters in May 2010, when nine of the humanitarian activists on board were killed.

Boats intending to take part are from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Canada, the United States, Germany/Switzerland, and the Netherlands as well as the Irish and Swedish ships, but it is not known how many will now set sail with the departure date still being kept secret.

ISG reported that many of the 20 Irish crew were seeking to find places to travel on other boats after the Saoirse was forced to cancel its mission following the sabotage.

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