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Swedish activists sent home after being arrested by Israel

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Swedish activists sent home after being arrested by Israel
One of the Gaza-bound boats intercepted by Israel. Photo: AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov
14:31 CEST+02:00
A group of seven Swedish citizens are on their way home after being arrested while aboard an activist boat attempting to breach the blockade of Gaza.

A total of 12 people including the seven Swedes were arrested by Israel which intercepted the boat in international waters. 

The Swedish government confirmed that all the Swedes had been sent home on Wednesday, while the Ship to Gaza activist group said shortly before midday that "most of [the activists] are already in transfer".

Three of the Swedes were scheduled to arrive in Stockholm at 12.25pm with two others set to land at 3pm. Ship to Gaza said it did not have flight details for the remaining passengers.

The Swedes were all activists from the 'Ship to Gaza' group who were attempting to break Israel's blockade and bring supplies including medical equipment to Gaza, while the remaining five people on the boat included three crew members from Canada, France and Germany, and two British journalists.

The Swedish vessel, named "Freedom for Gaza", was intercepted on August 4th and taken to Israel's port Ashdod its organizers said – the second such boat of the "Freedom Flotilla" prevented from reaching Gaza.

Israel has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in Gaza since 2008 and says the blockade is necessary to keep them from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used for military purposes.

UN officials have however called for the blockade to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas where 80 percent of the two million population are dependent on aid.

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