Israeli naval vessels make contact with Gaza boat


JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli army radio is reporting that naval vessels have made contact with a pro-Palestinian boat sailing to Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade.

The radio reported Saturday that Israeli forces ordered the Swedish owned, Finnish-flagged Estelle to halt its course.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed naval ships were in the area. She spoke anonymously citing military regulations.

Activists said they lost communication with their colleagues on the boat early this morning, indicating it was likely surrounded.

The Estelle is the latest in a series of activist-manned boats challenging Israel's blockade on Gaza, imposed after the militant group Hamas seized power of the coastal sliver in 2007. It left Naples, Italy, on Oct. 7 with about 20 people from eight countries, carrying items like cement, basketballs and musical instruments.