Tunisia's ex-president Marzouki arrives in France after detention in Israel

Ahram Online , Tuesday 30 Jun 2015

Marzouki and other activists were detained on Monday evening, after the Israeli navy boarded one of four boats attempting to break the siege on Gaza

Tunisia's ex-President Moncef Marzouki (Photo: Reuters)

Tunisia's former president Moncef Marzouki arrived in France on Tuesday, after Israeli forces detained him and other activists from a flotilla on its way to break the siege on Gaza on Monday, according to media reports.

Carrying pro-Palestinian activists, the Freedom Flotilla III had sought to reach the Gaza Strip to highlight the Israeli blockade on the territory, five years after a similar bid ended in a deadly raid.

Late on Monday, Marzouki's campaign manager Adnan Manser said that Israel was to deport the former Tunisian president to France.

In a phone call, Marzouki said that the Israeli authorities were putting him on a plane to Paris early on Tuesday, Manser said on his official Facebook account.

"Marzouki's participation in the Flotilla III is symbolic," Manser added. "His participation confirms Tunisia's commitment to the Gaza issue and Marzouki's commitment to the Palestinian cause."

The Israeli authorities have also released Palestinian member of Israeli parliament Basil Ghattas due to his parliamentary immunity, but are still investigating the rest of the detained activists.

Israel's navy boarded and took over the Marianne vessel, one of four taking part in the Freedom Flotilla III, and escorted it to the port of Ashdod on Monday evening, in an operation that did not use force, the Israeli military said.

The attempt comes just under a year after Israel's 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip that killed over 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and damaged most of the strip's infrastructure and buildings. Up to 73 Israelis died during the assault, most of them soldiers.

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