Israel trying to deport remaining 31 'flytilla' activists

AFP , Thursday 19 Apr 2012

The 31 remaining French flytilla activists await deportation efforts by Israeli authorities

Israel was on Thursday working to deport the remaining 31 pro-Palestinian activists, all of them French, who were barred from entering the country as part of mass fly-in campaign, a spokeswoman said.

"Nine pro-Palestinian activists were expelled on Wednesday and there are 31 French nationals still detained," interior ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told AFP.

Israel prevented a total of 79 foreign nationals from entering the country as part of the "Welcome to Palestine" fly-in campaign which began on Sunday.

The nationalities of the nine who were expelled a day earlier were not immediately clear, although the British Embassy had on Wednesday said it was giving consular assistance to eight Britons involved in the so-called "flytilla."

In a separate development on Wednesday, nine more French activists were refused entry after causing "trouble" on their flight from Athens and at Ben Gurion airport when they arrived earlier in the day.

"They were immediately expelled and left on the same plane," Haddad said.

Organisers of the campaign had been expecting to welcome up to 1,500 people, but Israel warned airlines they would be forced to foot the bill for the activists' immediate return home, prompting many of Europe's main carriers to cancel hundreds of tickets.

Short link: