U.S. activists chant slogans as they hold placards after a news conference about an international flotilla to blockaded Gaza, in Athens, Monday, (AP).
One of the 10 ships in the Gaza-bound flotilla has been sabotaged but will be repaired in time for the planned voyage to challenge Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian territory, activists said Tuesday.
The propeller shaft of the "Juliano," a ship shared by Swedish, Norwegian and Greek activists, was cut off while the vessel was docked in the Greek port of Piraeus, according to the Scandinavian organizers.
"Based on a first on-site inspection the damage can be repaired before the planned departure toward the end of this week," said a statement by the Swedish activists, who blamed "hostile divers" for the damage.
In a separate statement, Norwegian delegation leader Torstein Dahle said the incident shows "someone is willing to go to great lengths to stop the flotilla from sailing." The ship is part of a 10-ship flotilla due to set sail shortly in a bid to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.
Israel has warned it will thwart any attempt to breach the sea blockade of the Palestinian territory.
Israeli military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich told reporters Monday that, according to intelligence reports, extremists in the flotilla have supplies of what she called "dangerous incendiary chemicals" to use against Israeli forces.
Dror Feiler, one of the organizers, dismissed those claims, saying the hundreds of people who plan to join the flotilla have signed a declaration of nonviolence.
Feiler told Army Radio on Tuesday that if Israel has information about specific suspects, it should pass it along to flotilla's organizers.