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Captured Swedes taken to Israeli airport

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Captured Swedes taken to Israeli airport
16:40 CEST+02:00
The seven remaining Swedes being held in Israeli custody following the capture of the Ships to Gaza flotilla have been taken to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.

A Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that two of the captives had arrived at the airport and the others were on their way.

“The Embassy has staff on the scene to ensure that they get on their way and that they have travel documents,” spokeswoman Barbro Elm said on Wednesday afternoon.

It was not known whether the activists had booked flights back to Sweden.

Gaby Lasky, lawyer for one of the prisoners, expressed anger at the way they were released:

“They are trying to smuggle out prisoners away from their lawyers. We don't know who is on the buses, whether it's our clients or whether they really want to leave Israel,” she said.

Neri Ramati, another Swedish lawyer, was on Wednesday heading to the airport to try and meet Dror Feiler, one of the Swedish captives, after having being told that his client was already there. Asked whether he was worried about Feiler, he replied:

“I'm not worried, I'm angry.”

Three Swedish prisoners, author Henning Mankell, Green MP Mehmet Kaplan and Dr Victoria Strand, returned to Sweden last night.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt expressed relief at the return of the first Swedes:

“I hope that the information is correct and that the others also come home unharmed in the near future.”

“Their accounts reinforce what we have already said, that this is an unacceptable use of excessive violence, moreover in international waters,” he added.

Back in Sweden, Jewish communities were keeping an eye on developments:

“Security has been raised and we are in continuous contact with the police,” said Daniel Jonas at the Gothenburg synagogue.

Jonas said that no specific threats had been made against the community, although protestors outside the synagogue had carried placards with the words ‘Israel Mördare' (‘Israel Murderer').

I cannot comment on our threat assessment, but we are working in cooperation and are monitoring targets,” said Ulla Brehn, spokeswoman for Gothenburg police.

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