2 Bulgarian Journalists Arrested in Gaza Aid Convoy Attack

Politics » DIPLOMACY | May 31, 2010, Monday // 12:51| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: 2 Bulgarian Journalists Arrested in Gaza Aid Convoy Attack Israeli soldiers stand on the deck of a small boat (L) from the Free Gaza Movement flotilla as it is escorted by an Israeli naval patrol ship into Ashdod port in southern Israel, 31 May, 2010. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Two Bulgarian journalists have been arrested after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry announced.

The ministry has vowed to demand the immediate release of the Bulgarians.

The two have been identified as Svetoslav Ivanov, a reporter, and Valentin Vassilev, a cameraman, who work for the country's biggest private national TV channel bTV.

According to information of the media the team left for the Gaza Strip as part of an European humanitarian mission together with a group of journalists from leading European media.

The ship, carrying the Europeans, was not attacked, but diverted and is believed to be on its way to the port of Ashdod, the media said.

"All passengers aboard the European ship will be arrested and interrogated," said Abu Kalbey, chairman of the Palestinian community in Bulgaria.

Initial reports said a number of members of the European Parliament, including Bulgarians, are aboard the ship, but the information was not confirmed by the Foreign Ministry.

Мore than 10 people have been killed after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army says.

Armed forces boarded the vessels overnight, clashing with some of the 600 protesters on board.

The exact location of the interception is unclear. Israel had warned the ships not to enter its territorial waters.

The ships are carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to try to break a long-standing Israeli-led blockade.

Israel says its forces were attacked by activists when they got on board.

Organisers of the flotilla said at least 30 people were wounded in the incident.

The boats left European ports in a consolidated protest organized by two pro-Palestinian groups to deliver tons of food and other aid to Gaza to break a blockade imposed by Israel in 2007 after militant group Hamas seized control of the territory.

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