Northern Ireland news

Nobel peace prize winner Mairead Corrigan 'kidnapped' by Israeli forces

Peace campaigner Mairead Maguire was detained by Israeli authorities
Connla Young

NOBEL peace prize winner Mairead Maguire has claimed she was ‘kidnapped’ by Israeli authorities after a boat was intercepted near Gaza.

The 72-year-old was one of 13 activists on the vessel when it was stopped by the Israeli navy 40 miles from shore.

The yacht, Zaytouna-Olivia, which was not carrying aid, had travelled from Barcelona to Sicily and on to Gaza in a symbolic attempt to challenge Israel's refusal to let Palestinians use the port.

The 1976 Nobel laureate was scathing after she and her colleagues were transferred to Israel on Wednesday.

"We were arrested, kidnapped, illegally, in international waters and taken against our wish into Israel," she said.

"This has happened to me before.

“We will be deported and tragically not allowed back to see our friends in Palestine and Israel.”

The Israeli Defence Forces said the boat was intercepted in international waters after "exhausting all diplomatic channels" and that the operation was "uneventful". They also described the Gaza maritime blockade as lawful.

In 2010 Israeli forces killed 10 people after boarding a boat which was trying to break the blockade, imposed after Hamas took power in Gaza almost a decade ago.

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson voiced her anger at the latest development.

"The international community must act immediately to ensure the safety and well-being of the crew and passengers on board the Zaytouna-Olive, and that they are allowed to continue their journey to Gaza."

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